William T. Cox's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R E A T U R E S   O F   T H E   L U M B E R W O O D S
( 100th A N N I V E R S A R Y   H Y P E R T E X T   E D I T I O N )

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Snow Wasset.
(Mustelinopsis subitivorax.)

        On the most northern logging camps of Canada we hear of the snow wasset. This is surely an animal of the Boreal Zone. It is a migratory animal, wintering in the lumbering region between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay and spending its summers far north in Labrador and the Barren Grounds. Unlike most wild creatures of the North, the wasset is said to hibernate during only the warmest weather, when its hair turns green and it curls up in a cranberry marsh. During the summer it has rudimentary legs, which enable it to creep slowly around and remain in the shade.
        After the first howling snowstorm the wasset sheds its legs and starts south , dipping about in the snow. It soon attains remarkable skill in this method of travel, which enables it to surprise burrowing grouse, crouching rabbits, and skulking varmints of many kinds. Later in the winter, when food becomes scarce and more difficult to obtain, even wolves are snowdrifts. According to woodsmen, the tragedies of the far North are more numerous beneath the crusted snow than above it. There is no telling how many creatures are pulled down and eaten by the wasset, for this animal has a voracious appetite, comparable only to that of the wolverine, but since it is four times as big and forty times as active as the wolverine it must eat correspondingly more.
        The only specimen of this beast ever examined by white men was an imperfect one on James Bay, where a party of surveyors found an Indian in a peculiar canoe, which, upon exami- nation, was shown to be made from one wasset hide greatly stretched. There being no leg holes in the white winter pelt, it is peculiarly adapted to the making of shapely one-man canoes, which are said to be used also as sleds by the Indians. A whole battery of dead-falls are believed to be used in trapping a wasset, since it is impossible to tell in what direction the animal's body may extend. The trigger is set so that a dozen logs fall in from all sides toward the bait, pinning the animal under the snow wherever he may be.

Page Thirty-Nine.

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Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts
Written by William T. Cox • Illustrated by Coert Du Bois • With Latin Classifications by George B. Sudworth
(Washington: Judd & Detweiler, Inc., 1910) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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