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ARBUCKLES' ALBUM
OF
ILLUSTRATED NATURAL HISTORY


(Actual Size: 6-7/8" x 11-1/8" - shown approx. 1/2 scale)
CLICK on any map to see the corresponding card as it was originally issued.

Ermine, Reindeer, Polar Bear, Buansuah
(Mustela erminea, Rangifer tarandus, Thalassarctos maritimus, Canis primoevus)


(facing page)

Ermine.

A small, slender, short-legged quadruped of the weasel family, found throughout the northerly and cold temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. The term is specially applied to the condition of the animal when it is white, with a black tip to the tail, a change from the ordinary reddish brown color occurring in winter in most latitudes inhabited by the animal. It is a near relative of the weasel, the ferret and the European pole-cat. The ermine fur of commerce is chiefly obtained from northern Europe, Siberia, and British America, and is in great request. It is prepared by having the black of the tail inserted at regular intervals, so that it contrasts with the pure white of the fur. The fur, with or without the black spots, is used for lining and facing certain official and ceremonial garments, especially in England, the robes of the judges. On this account it stands for the perfect rectitude essential to the judge's office. The ermine is also called a stoat. It is larger than the weasel, being fourteen inches in total length, including a tail of four inches. It eats young rabbits, and hunts hares which, although swifter, appear to lose their usual powers of flight when followed by this enemy. It plunders birds' nests, kills rats and mice in quantities for its young, and as many as five hares and four rabbits have been found laid away in its larder for use in time of need.


Reindeer.

A deer inhabiting arctic and cold temperate regions. It has branched, recurved, round antlers, found on both sexes, those of the male being much larger than those of the female, and remarkable for the size and symmetry of the brow antler. The body is of a thick and square form, the legs shorter in proportion than those of the red deer; the size varying much according to climate, the average height of the full grown specimen being about four and a half feet. It is keen of sight and swift of foot, being capable of maintaining a speed of nine or ten miles per hour for a long time, and can easily carry a weight of 200 pounds besides the sledge to which it is usually attached when used as a beast of draft. With the Laplanders it is a substitute for a horse, a cow and sheep, as it furnishes food, clothes and means of conveyance. A herd of a thousand makes a man wealthy in that country; a few hundreds constitute respectability, while servants have forty or fifty. In a wild state it is migratory, made so by its enemies, the mosquito and the gad-fly, going from woods to hills to escape them. Even in the domesticated state it is obliged to continue its migrations for the same cause, and the owners have to follow. It lives on lichen which instinct teaches it to find under the snow, using head, hoofs and snout to do so. When the snow is too firmly frozen the poor thing dies of hunger.


Polar Bear.

This is the aquatic member of the bear family, and is sometimes called the white bear, on account of its beautiful silvery fur. It is especially adapted for traversing the water and passing its existence among the ice mountains of the northern regions. Its food is altogether of an animal nature, principally of seals and fish--vegetables being rather a scarce diet in its home. Its scent is wonderfully well developed. It is extraordinaily active, and will sometimes plunge into the water and catch a salmon. It has been known to swim a strait forty miles in width. In captivity in warmer climates, it contents itself with vegetable food, and has been fed for a long time on bread alone. Sometimes it will run at the sight of man, and at others will attack him without apparent reason. It is tenacious of life, and when pierced with many wounds will still fight desperately with teeth and claws. It differs from other bears in its shape, the neck being long in proportion to the remainder of the body, and the head is small and sharp. The foot is equivalent to one sixth of the entire length of the body; the sole being covered with warm fur which not only keeps it warm, but enables it to tread firmly upon the ice. The female hibernates and in the retirement of the winter brings forth her young in the snow, generally two in number, coming forth sadly reduced, desperately hungry and very dangerous. The male passes the winter in the exercise of all his faculties.


Buansuah.

This is the native name of the wild dog of Nepal and northern India, an animal whose special interest to us lies in the fact that it is supposed by naturalists to be the original type of the dog tribe, although the honor of such a supposition is shared with the Dhole of British India. The Nepal claimant is certainly a dog in the rough, without the refining influences of association with the human race. It is of a reddish color, pale underneath, with a bushy, pendulous tail, and in size is between that of the wolf and the jackal, but with very stout limbs. It hunts in packs of eight or twelve, and follows game mostly by the nose instead of the eye, as it possesses exquisite powers of scent. It is shy, and never willingly permits itself to be seen, but is capable of being tamed to a certain degree, and when captured young, can be trained to hunt. It is of the most assistance in chasing the wild boar, as its wolf-like attack of sudden snap is more destructive to its prey than the bite of an ordinary hound, but for other game it is not at all trustworthy, and will often give up the chase at the critical moment, and turn its attention to a tame sheep or goat which happens to be grazing in its pathway. The difference between the habits of this animal and those of the faithful and trusted "friend of man," is a remarkable illustration of development.