Saturday, August 21, 2010

Identity Crisis

Hello! It's been a while. Steph and I are just about completely moved in to our new apartment in Ann Arbor. We've spent the past week making the place home, and in doing so, have obtained a DETOLF from IKEA (thanks Mom!) to display some of the skulls and bones we've found. I was moving the second skull featured in this post when I realized, upon comparing it with a raccoon skull, that it looked nothing like a raccoon skull. That's what I get for assuming! To be fair, this skull is in pretty rough shape and has only two teeth:

November Raccoon

I compared the skull with this fox skull I own, and what do you know? November Raccoon is actually November Fox! This is significant, because it proves the presence of foxes on Presque Isle. I've only ever seen fox footprints in the area, and those were found in the bog -- which is easily accessible from the mainland. This skull, on the other hand, was found on the interior of the isle (assuming it wasn't moved by an animal). This discovery is also important because there are few predators to be found in Presque Isle Park. We have seen evidence of coyotes (tracks and scat, and Steph spotted one for a fleeting instant) as well as mustelids, but most of the animals living on the isle seem to be herbivores.

The next question is, was this a gray fox or a red fox? The skull is so chewed and worn that it's hard to tell. However, it's a very close match to my red fox skull (click image for a larger version):

And, for comparison, here is the skull next to a raccoon skull (click image for a larger version):

Lesson learned from this? Always look closer! I never would have guessed, when I found that skull, that it belonged to a fox. Because the underside of the skull is so interesting, I have chosen to display it upside-down.

Soon I will be posting about what I've seen so far in the Ann Arbor area.

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