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appearance, as she toils along with ten or twelye cubs, nearly of the size of rats, each with a turn of his tail, round his mother's tail, and clinging on her back with paws, hands, and mouth.

This fact has been thought by many persons too extraordinary for belief, but the sight of a specimen in the British Museum would speedily remove their doubts on the subject. Amongst a large number of the different species of opossum, is the Didelphus dorsigerus, a creature about four inches in length, which has six little cubs clinging on its back, precisely as in the above description. A fine specimen of the Virginia opossum is the largest of the group. When the mother is at rest, it is both curious and interesting to see the young take refuge in her pouch, from whence one or two may be seen peeping out, with an air of great comfort. The mother in this condition, or at any time in defence of her young, will make battle, biting with much keenness and severity, for which her long canine teeth are well suited. If taken young, the opossum is readily tamed, and becomes very fond of human society. When two or more are kept in the same place, they employ themselves almost constantly in licking one another, and whenever they are fondled by any person, they make a purring noise, not unlike that of a cat. They relinquish their nocturnal habits, and grow almost troublesome from their familiarity. One thus tamed would follow the inmates of the house with great assiduity, and complain by a whining noise when left alone. As it grew older, it became mischievous from its restless curiosity, and there seemed no possibility of securing it by any contrivance.

The same circumstance has been remarked by all persons who have attempted to detain the opossum in captivity.

In the city of Philadelphia, a great number were apparently safely secured, but they all contrived to enlarge themselves, and were no more heard of. It is very probable that many of these took refuge in the cellars of the houses, and lived for some time, obtaining a plentiful supply of food by their nightly labours.

In length, the full-grown Virginian opossum is

about twenty inches, and the tail twelve. The weight about fourteen pounds. The number of young born at a time is from twelve to sixteen; there is, therefore, not much probability of the species becoming very scarce, especially as their nocturnal mode of life renders it by no means necessary that they should fly very far from the habitations of man.

[graphic]

.... Along the Towy's winding shore
The beavers in its banks had hollowed out
Their social place of dwelling, and had dammed
The Summer's current with their perfect art
Of instinct, erring not in means nor end.

Southey.

THE BEAVEK.

Castor Fiber.

These sagacious and useful animals, which, from their provident care and industrious habits, may be compared with the ant and bee of the insect world, were once, we have good reason to suppose, natives of Great Britain, their bones having been found in the accumulations of peat as far south as Berkshire. Giraldus Cambrensis (one of our old chroniclers) says that "beavers frequented the river Tieve in Cardiganshire, and that they had from the Welch a name signifying 'the broad-tailed animals.'" Their skins were valued by the Welch laws in the tenth century at the then great price of a hundred and twenty pence each, and they seem to have constituted the chief finery of those days. Beavers are at the present time natives of most of the northern parts of

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