Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birthday Girl, Birthday Squirrel

Today's my 25th birthday! I've spent approximately 20 of those years fascinated by dead animals, and maybe one of these days I'll share some (embarrassing) childhood photographs of me posing with beach finds and my skull collection. For my birthday, Steph made me a beautiful painting that I'll share in a separate entry — but I was also gifted a present from the road on our way home from a hike.

This female gray squirrel had been hit by a car in our neighborhood. So recently was she hit, her body was still very warm and she was alarmingly lifelike. Her coat was thick and soft for the winter, and her hind feet resembled tiny, furry snowshoes.

One of her hind legs was badly broken by the impact. Other than that, there was no superficial damage to the rest of her body; after I skinned her, I observed that even her insides seemed relatively intact.

This evening, I put the gray squirrel's skinned body outside for the remaining gray fox. Hopefully, he will find it during his nighttime prowl and enjoy a tasty meal.

On the topic of roadkill, I've encountered several different species, just within our small neighborhood:

• Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)
• Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
• Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
• Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)
• Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata)
• Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
• American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
• Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

Some, like chipmunks and squirrels, can be unpredictable and hard to avoid. Others, like snapping turtles and gray foxes, not so much. People do drive at excessive speeds down our road, which is unfortunate, as this area is full of wildlife.

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