Thu 1 Oct, 2009 01:21 pm
Yesterday, sozlet pointed out that there was a dead squirrel in our backyard. Aw. I went to take a look at it, it was in good shape, no obvious cause of death. I'd guess it fell from one of our giant trees (its location would be consistent with that) and died.
I wasn't even completely sure it was dead as opposed to passed out/ stunned, since it looked so complete and unharmed, just sprawled out. But then I saw the little buggies swarming over its eyeballs.
We talked about what to do with the corpse -- put it in the freezer? fling it in the street and pretend it was hit by a car and not our problem? -- but didn't do anything. Today I decided it'd be a good idea to deal with it sooner rather than later and went out with a plan to put it in a garbage bag and throw it out. (Sorry for the inglorious end, squirrel.)
But, it was gone. Completely gone. Neither hide nor hair left of it, no evidence of it having ever been there.
- sozlet, E.G. and I all hallucinated it and the squirrel was never there
- it wasn't actually dead, just stunned, and buggies notwithstanding it got up and walked away
- it was actually dead, and is now a zombie and got up and walked away
- our resident woodchucks are more carnivorous than we expected
We have woodchucks, chipmunks, raccoons, and sundry birds including owls (I've seen turkey vultures around... maybe them?) There are lots of neighborhood cats that perambulate through our yard but I'm not sure how interested they'd be in a dead squirrel. Full-sized one, not so light/ easy to drag. We live in a pretty urban area but our neighborhood has a lot of trees and our yard especially is home to a lot of critters.
Answer this question for me first, and then perhaps we'll proceed further: is your residence built upon an Indian burial ground?
Why yes, yes it is. Plus there's evidently been some unearthly howling at night -- I don't mind but the rest of my family is all like "I can't sleep because of the unearthly howling," I'm like "put in some ear plugs already...!"
Um, actually it's not built upon an Indian burial ground that I know of. BUT -- and I'm completely serious here -- there IS an Indian burial ground a few blocks away.
OMG. Zombie squirrels are just the beginning, aren't they?
Okay, yeah. A few blocks is close enough for runoff from the burial ground to impact your property.
I'm not saying you'll see the squirrel again. I'm saying you'll see a giant squirrel, the size of your house, heaving with the angry despair of a thousand Indian souls whose misfortunes in this life will forever forbid them from achieving eternal rest.
My guess: vulture.
Not so long ago, a dead squirrel lay on the grass at work for a bit. When I came around picking up debris, planning to pick up the squirrel at that time, I witnessed a buzzard eating it. They can be quick on the scene.
I don't see what the mystery is here. Granted, I don't know your neighborhood, but it's a safe bet you've got nocturnal scavengers of various kinds wandering around after dark. Vulture is an excellent guess. You mentioned that there are racoons. Leave fresh meat out overnight, it'll be gone by morning in most cases. You don't even need the more esoteric types of scavenger -- a homeless alley cat will make short shrift of a squirrel corpse.
Probably either a vulture or a raccoon...
however, I much prefer the Zombie Squirrel idea. SO much more fun!
My guess is a neighborhood dog or a coyote.
I thought that a vulture or other on-the-spot scavenger would leave bits of fluff, something
-- there was absolutely nothing left at all. (I looked REALLY carefully.)
I don't really think coyotes are possible but who knows. I also don't think we have any unleashed/ wild dogs (if there are, I NEVER see them).
edit: also, I've seen fresh meat stick around for a long time -- road kill squirrels (and we have a bazillion squirrels and some of them are quite dumb, I have to brake for 'em regularly) will just languish until cleaning crews get 'em. They are near roads, granted, but our area has zero to no traffic overnight, and I'm not sure why scavengers would eschew roadside corpses and scarf a backyard corpse...
I'm positive it's a zombie raccoon that devoured the squirrel corpus delectus.
We talked about what to do with the corpse -- put it in the freezer?
Why would anyone
want a dead squirrel in the freezer?
I bet you wouldn't ask Davy Crockett that question.
Future squirrel pie? I once saved an article about possum pie (in the old but good Realites magazine, if I remember) just because I'd recently, then, seen my first possum and thought it was cute.
I ever see a dead squirrel in the freezer, we are going to McDonalds.
Well, the squirrel may carry plague. On the other hand..
Thank you - I was wondering the same thing - I mean this sozobe, not Gus.
When I lived in Boston there was a mad raccoon that used to bite the heads off squirrels, geese and neighborhood cats. One night my inebriated neighbor cornered the thing and, using a trusty blow gun that he bought in Peru, shot darts into the raccoon's face. Police were notified and the neighbor was arrested for cruelty to animals and possession of an illegal weapon. Meanwhile the raccoon escaped and lived to kill many more squirrels and cats. True story.
Well, something took it.
I don't buy the zombie idea.
I dont think "purloined" is the term, "Scavenged" is probably closer.
Red Tails are not beneath swooping down on some fresh roadkill "TO GO"