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Edwards, George, 1694-1773. / A natural history of birds. Most of which have not been figur'd or describ'd, and others very little known from obscure or too brief descriptions without figures, or from figures very ill design'd.
[Part I] (1743)

The porcupine from Hudson's Bay,   pp. 52-[Plate] 52 ff.

Page 52

( 52 )
The PO R C U P I N E from              Hudfon's Bay.
I~ 0 R Shape and Bignefs it much refembles a Caflor or Beaver, or to compare
it to
fome xvell known thing for Size of Body, it is equal to a Fox, tho' unlike
it in
Shape; the Head is like a Rabit's; it hath a flat Nofe intirely cover'd with
ffort Hair;
the Teeth before, two above and two beneath, are very firong, of a yellow
Colour, and
feem to be made for gnawing or biting of Grafs; it hath very fmall Ears hardly
pearing beyond the Fur; the Legs are Ihort, the Claws long, four on each
Foot for-
wards, and five on each hinder Foot, all hollowed within like Scoops; the
Tail is of a
middling Length, thicker toward the Body than at the End, the under-fide
of the Tail
towards the End is White; it is clothed all over the Body with pretty foft
Fur about
four Inches long, tho' fhorter about the Head and near the Paws, and a little
longer on
the hinder Part of the Head; beneath the Hair on the upper Part of the Head,
and Tail, it is thick fet with very fharp ftiff Quills, the longeft being
hardly three Inches
long, which gradually fhortens towards the Nofe, and on the Sides towards
the Belly,
the Quills cannot be ieen through the Fur, except a little on the Rump where
the Hair
was thin; it had befides the foft Fur which was all the Body over of a dark
Brown or
Sable-colour, fome long fliff firaggling Hairs thinly fet, three Inches longer
than the
tinder Fur, the Ends of which being of a dirty White, made the Fur appear
a little
grifled in fome Places, the Quills are very lharp, feveral of them having
fluck fafler in
my Fingers than in the Skin on a flight touch; they are bearded, and not
eafily drawn
out when enter'd the Skin: There came over with this, a young one about the
of a Rat; it had a blacker Fur than the old one, and the Quills were plainly
feen and
felt among the Hair.
Thefe were brought from Hudfou's Bay, and prefented to Dr. P. M. Ma96-y,
and are
now in Sir Hans Sloane s Colca ion at Chelfea. I believe this Creature has
not before
been defcrib'd. The Qlills are white with black Points. See in the Plate
a Quill of
its natural Shape and Size, and the Point of a Qiill magnified.
A Friend of mine refiding at Hludfion's Bay!, at my Requefi has refolved
me femne
Queries I fent him. relating to this Creature.
Extralt fr'ot his Lettcr, dated Albany, Augufi Ic, 1742.
sJ ' H E Porcupine in this Country, is a Beaft which makes its Ncl±
or Den under
cc ~    the Roots of great Trees. and fleeps nmuch ; it feeds on the Bark,
of Juniper
" and other Trees, but chiefly on juniper; in Winter it eats Snow
of drinking,
and laps Water in Summner like a Cat or Dog, but carefully avoids going into
His Hair and Quills remain all Sunmmer wxithout alteration of Colour ; but
as the
" Weather grows warnmer in the Spring, the Fur growvs thinner, as
all Creatures in
this Country. But you mnay depend on better Information next Year, 16r they
very plentiful on the Eaft Main, ievcral of nmy trading Indians depending
on them
( for Food at fome $eafons of the Year.
Tour mo,? humble Servant,
A L E X A N V E R  L I Gt IT.

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