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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   127

tical with the red fox, of which they are in some cases the offspring. Still either the black or silver if mated together usually breed true. The cross fox is merely a dark form of the red with considerably more valuable fur. By selecting the darkest individuals to breed from and continuing the selection an increasingly valuable strain doubtless could be obtained.

Foxes taken when young and carefully raised in captivity become tame and usually breed if properly paired. The red foxes as well as the Arctic or blue fox are evidently strictly monogamous   

 

 

BLUE OR ARCTIC FOXES

 

Many of the islands in Alaska have been leased or taken possession of for fox farming. Some of these islands were already inhabited by blue foxes and others were stocked with them, mainly from St. George Island, where the best fur was found.

As shown by the report of the Harriman Alaska Expedition, Vol. II., p. 357, 1901, and by a more recent account in Forest and Stream for July 26, 1906, by T. E. Hofer, these foxes are thriving and yielding considerable fur. On some islands they secure their own food and are merely guarded and trapped by those in charge. On most of the islands, however, they are fed for part or all the year, but then wild life has undergone little or no change. They appeal to be naturally rather tame and with proper care could doubtless be thoroughly domesticated.

They breed when a year old, pair for breeding and have usually four to eight young at a litter. Prime skins are quoted at $20 to $25.

OTTER

 

Few wild animals thrive better in close confinement than otter. Given a small pen with a pool of water they seem comparatively con-tented and happy. They become very tame and are playful and intelligent. There are many accounts of their being so domesticated as to follow then master, come at his call and even catch fish and bring them out of the water for him. They are not easily trapped, and are quite able to hold their own against the encroachment of civilization. They probably are as common to-day near the district of Columbia as they are over most of their range, which reaches from Florida to Alaska. They can be readily enclosed by a simple wire-mesh fence taking in a section of a stream. They do not climb or burrow to any extent. Th eir

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