A Mummified Mustelid!

I always have a huge list of things I want to achieve over the summer, when I theoretically have 2 extra days to my week when I am not teaching. I actually think I have ended up working more this summer than ever! A big job for me was to clear out my garage port that has become a bit of a dumping ground over the last few years. With the weeks whizzing past at an alarming rate and  Bird Fair next weekend and a trip to Scotland looming before September, I had to just bite the bullet and go for it. With a skip hired, I began the rather epic task!

It was not long before I was discovering that the wildlife quite liked my rather jumbled assortment of wildlife projects, boxes, wood etc as a couple of pre-hibernating Peacock butterflies emerged and then I discovered  two stunning Herald moths… #gallery-18735-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-18735-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-18735-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-18735-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

I found wood mouse nests in two boxes and then a rat nest in a cardboard box with a polystyrene insert…. what a mess!

The next find I made was right at the very back of the garage, under a pallet… and I must admit, it gave me rather a shock! I had to take a closer look as I had no idea what it was… it looked very strange! By its position, it had obviously crawled in and died there.


It rather looked like something out of  horror movie. I carefully removed everything from around it, including the pallet.  I touched it…. it was hard, yet bone dry and completely dried out. Like paper, it weighed nothing at all and I lifted it out of its death space to take a closer look. Straight away, I could tell it was some sort of mustelid… it had to be a polecat, ferret or mink. My gut reaction was that it was a polecat. I have captured footage on my trail cams and wired cameras in this area on numerous occasions. May be it had been hit by a car on the lane and crawled in here to die. I will never know, but wow! This was interesting! Its not everyday you find a mummified mustelid in your garage!!

mummify


ˈmʌmɪfʌɪ/


verb

past tense: mummified; past participle: mummified





(especially in ancient Egypt) preserve (a body) by embalming and wrapping it in cloth.

“the mummified bodies entombed in the pyramids”




dry up (a body) and so preserve it.

“the bodies of prehistoric men, mummified by the effect of the acid in the bog water”

This is what seemed to have happened to my rather unfortunate mustelid……


After tweeting about it, and actually receiving lots of very interested tweets (I have a great set of followers) The Vincent Wildlife Trust suggested I measure it and compare to the Mammal Society measurements for polecat. I did exactly this and it certainly looks like it is.


A few people asked if I was going to keep it…… silly question! OF COURSE I AM! What a find! 🙂

I am imagining the creative writing this kind of specimen could inspire…… watch this space!

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