Hats made of beaver fur
Hats made of beaver fur
 
 
Drawing of a salmon
Drawing of a salmon
 
 
The bobcat
The bobcat
 
 
The grizzly bear
The grizzly bear
 
 
Lewis meeting a grizzly bear
Lewis meeting a grizzly bear
 
 
A small herd of buffalo, or bison
A small herd of buffalo, or bison
 
 
A white pelican
A white pelican
 
Lewis and Clark <br>Animals
Topic(s):   Lewis & Clark Expedition

President Thomas Jefferson hoped Lewis and Clark would find many fur-bearing animals. Beaver hats were very popular in 1803. The President told the explorers to describe and collect sample animals.

Lewis and Clark identified 122 animals. Some were new to science. Others were related to animals already known. Lewis and Clark were the first to make detailed scientific notes and drawings of these animals.

Lewis and Clark found small creatures living in mounds of dirt. They named them prairie dogs. The men tried to dig them out but couldn't. They flooded a tunnel and caught one. The men sent it back to the President. They also sent him a bobcat’s skin and a stuffed badger.

They saw vast herds of buffalo, or bison, on the Great Plains. From a high spot, Lewis and Clark estimated they could see as many as 20,000 buffalo at once. They learned about the importance of these animals to the Native Americans.

The jackrabbit’s flexible ears amazed them. Lewis and Clark thought it could leap about 20 feet (six meters). They saw many porcupines and named a river for them. The Corps of Discovery had some narrow escapes with grizzly bears. They called them white bears because their coats were paler than eastern black bears.

The men shot a white pelican. They filled its mouth with water. They were surprised that it could hold five gallons (19 liters).

Lewis and Clark’s reports inspired naturalists like James Audubon. The men describe North America before settlers came.

Resource information

Blumberg, Rhoda. The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1987.

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Animals on the Trail with Lewis and Clark. New York: Clarion Books, 2002.

Woodger, Elin and Brandon Toropov. Encyclopedia of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. New York: Facts on File, 2004.

Citation information

APA Style:        Lewis and Clark: Animals. (2013, March). Retrieved from Facts4Me at http://www.facts4me.com

MLA Style:       "Lewis and Clark: Animals." Facts4Me. Mar. 2013. http://www.facts4me.com.

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