MUSKMELON

129I

MUSSEL

boilers, pianos and furniture. Muskegon is noted for its fine educational advantages, including a magnificent manual-training school presented by C. H. Hackley and endowed with $610,000. Mr. Hackley has also endowed the public schools with an amount which will probably reach $1,500,-000. Muskegon is the eighth largest city in the state, and has a population of 24,600.

Musk'mel'on, various forms of Cucumis melo, a genus of the gourd family and native to southern Asia. The cultivation of muskmelons has become a very important commercial enterprise in North America. There are two general types in the market : (1) the furrowed kinds with hard rind, known as cantaloupes, and (2) the netted kinds with softer rinds, known as nutmeg-melons. The nutmeg-melons are those most commonly seen in the early markets; while the cantaloupes are longer-seasoned varieties. An important strain of the nutmeg type has recently become prominent under the name of osage-melons, which were developed in southern Michigan. Muskmelons are a staple food among the inhabitants of Persia, Egypt and Italy. Musk-melon growing is extensively carried on in the southern states, and the Mississippi valley in general is peculiarly adapted to the industry. However, New Jersey as yet supplies half of the market-crop. See Cucumis.

Musk=Ox or Musk-Sheep, an animal combining characteristics of the ox and sheep;

Description images/pp0176 1

MUSK-OX

in size and shape resembling the ox, in habit like the sheep. It is very agile, swift and sure of foot. It is now restricted to arctic America north of latitude 6o°, but formerly was more widely distributed and occurred in England as well as in America. In this country it once wandered as far south as Kentucky. Now its favorite haunts are the upper tributaries of Mackenzie River and the region about Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes. It is a strange-looking creature, appearing to be a low mass of hair of great length and thickness, tangled at the shoulders. The legs Hornaday describes as short and post-like; the head is

massive; the tail very short; the horns meet in the middle of the forehead and curve downward and outward, and the tips point upward. The coat next the body is very fine and soft, of a light brown color; the outer hairs are coarser, darker, sometimes a foot long. The hairy coat is shed during hot weather. A full-grown male reaches a weight of 450 pounds. The animal gets its name from its peculiar musky odor, concerning the origin of which there is doubt. They live in herds of 20 or 30 or upward, feed on grasses, lichens, moss, willow and pine-shoots, and are hunted for food. The flesh of some is very palatable, of others tough and unpleasantly musky. It is an important food-animal to Eskimo and Arctic explorer.

Musket. See Gun.

Musk'rat or Musquash, a water-rat peculiar to North America, found from Labrador to Alaska and south to Louisiana and Arizona. Although adapted to an aquatic life, muskrats spend much time on the shores of the lakes and rivers they inhabit. The animal is the largest of the rat family, being about one foot long without the tail, which is six or eight inches in length. The latter is different from the tail of any other rat, being scaly and flattened from above downward. The fur is a dark, glossy brown above, paler and more silky underneath, is of commercial value; in the present scarcity of fur much is sold as mink and martin; when dyed, as French seal. Muskrats are great divers and swimmers, and resemble the beaver in being clever house-builders They live in burrows in the bank, with one or more entrances under water. For winter they build dome-shaped houses of sedges and grasses plastered together with mud. These project above the surface of the water, but the entrances are underneath ; here they sleep and bring up their food to eat at leisure. They feed mainly on roots and stems of water-plants. They raise their young in homes high up on the banks, there being two or three litters a season. Otter and mink are among their enemies, and the great horned-owl is.a deadly foe. Warning of approaching danger is said to be communicated from one to another by slapping the water with the rubbery tail. The tail is used as rudder and propeller in swimming, and furnishes a "third leg" when the muskrat stands upright on shore, as he has a habit of doing, presenting a most amusing figure when looking the landscape over. The muskrat gets its name from its pronounced odor. The name is also applied to the desman of the Old World and a rat of India. All of these animals have a musky odor. See Stone and Cram: American Animals and Hornaday: American Natural History.

Musquash. See Muskrat.

Mussel {mŭs'I), the common name for a number of bivalve mollusks. The common