― 278 ―

Wha Tapoau Roo

This animal is about the size of a racoon, is of a dark grey colour on the back, becoming rather lighter on the sides, which terminates in a rich brown on the belly. The hair is of two kinds, a long hair, and a kind of fur, and even the long hair, at the roots, is of the fur kind.

The head is short; the eyes rather prominent; the ears broad, not peaked.

The teeth resemble those of all the animals from that country I have hitherto seen.

The incisors are not continued into the grinders by intermediate teeth, although there are two teeth in the intermediate space in the upper jaw, and one in the lower. The incisors are similar to those of the kangaroo, and six in number in the upper jaw, opposed by two in the lower, which have an oblique surface extending some distance from their edge, so as to increase the surface of contact.

Colour plate facing page 278 of 'Wha-Tapoau Roo'

There are two cuspidati on each side in the upper jaw, and only one in the lower; five grinders on each side of each

  ― 279 ―
jaw, the first rather pointed, the others appear nearly of the same size, and quadrangular in their shape, with a hollow running across their base from the outside to the inner, which is of some depth; and another which crosses it, but not so deep, dividing the grinding surface into four points.

On the fore foot there are five toes, the inner the shortest, resembling, in a slight degree, a thumb. The hind foot resembles a hand, or that of the monkey and opossum, the great toe having no nail, and opposing the whole sole of the foot, which is bare. The nails on the other toes, both of the fore and hind foot, resemble, in a small degree, those of the cat, being broad and covered; and the last bone of the toe has a projection on the under side, at the articulation. Each nail has, in some degree, a small sheath, covering its base when drawn up.

The tail is long, covered with long hair, except the under surface of that half towards the termination, of the breadth of half an inch, becoming broader near the tip or termination; this surface is covered with a strong cuticle, and is adapted for laying hold.