Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dust to dust (What is left of Lefty)

In my short evening walk today I found the skeletal remains of Lefty, the porcupine that died near my house. I had reported on this porcupine in several earlier posts. I called it lefty because it had broken one of its toes on its left front paw and the bone had reset with the toe pointing up. It was easy this way to identify Lefty even way up in a tree. Being so close to the house I grabbed some rubber gloves and picked up the carcass and moved it to a spot further inside the woodlot and away from our trails. The plan was of course to let the wild predators have at it. Oddly enough, this carcass, unlike others, was never preyed upon. I gather that the turkey vulture did not like to feed on carrion located in the woods since it is less safe than in a clearing. The coyotes, raccoons etc. possibly were wary of my scent on it.

I recall when I carried the carcass that one of the needles went right through the glove and into my finger. It was a strange feeling trying to pull the needle out. It stuck like glue. Apparently the barbs on the needles are extremely fine and barely visible even under a regular microscope. There was no easy way to pull it out but mere force. It drew no blood and never festered so all was well.

In the photo, the skull is clearly visible as well as a smattering of odd bones. Maybe the animals did get into it after all since the bones dispersed over time. And the rest went back to the earth whence it came.

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