Lewis, February 27, 1806
Thursday February 27th 1806. Reubin Fields returned this evening and had not killed anything. he reports that there are no Elk towards point Adams. Collins who had hunted up the Netul on this side returned in the evening having killed a buck Elk. Willard still continues very unwell the other sick men have nearly recovered. Gutridge and McNeal who have the pox are recovering fast, the former nearly well.
The rat in the Rocky mountain on it's West side are like those on the upper part of the Missouri in and near those mountains and have the distinguishing trait of possessing a tail covered with hair like other parts of the body; one of those we caught at the White bear Islands in the beginning of July last and was then discribed. I have seen the nests of those in this neighbourhood but not the animal. I think it most probable that they are like those of the Atlantic states or at least the native rat of our country which have no hair on the tail. this species we found on the Missouri as far up it as the woody country extended. it is as large as the common European house rat or reather larger, is of a lighter colour bordering more on the lead or drab colour, the hair longer; and the female has only four tits which are placed far back near the hinder legs. this rat I have observed in the Western parts of the State of Georgia and also in Madison's cave in the state of Virginia the mouse and mole of this neighbourhood are the same as those native animals with us. The Panther is found indifferently either in the Great Plains of Columbia, the Western side of the rocky mountains or on this coast in the timbered country. it is precisely the same animal common to the Atlantic coast, and most commonly met with on our frontiers or unsettled parts of the country. this animal is scarce in the country where they exist and are so remarkable shye and watchfull that it is extreemly difficult to kill them.