|THE SNOW WASSET.
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.