Really gross but need to know...

skatayama(NJ-7)May 31, 2005

I barbequed last night but it got dark so I didn't put up the grill. I decided I needed to let the grill cool down anyway so why not wait until tomorrow to put it away. I also left the shed open.

So, today I go out to put the grill away. I walk into the shed to move the cover for the grill and in the corner is a headless squirrel. I am brave enough to move the squirrel (can't let the kid see it) but need to know whose m.o. it is to store a catch like that. No insects on it yet and looks to be a fresh kill. I'm in suburban neighborhood - close to a bike path and the Raritan Bay. OK- there are tracts of wetlands nearby.

Hope one of you guys can help. I'm no fan of squirrels but I don't really want my shed to become Cafe Tree Rat either.


Sheila, who now gets to go out and get the squirrel.

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dighappy(z7 NJ)

I have heard of owls taking the heads off of chickens.....maybe it was an owl. Do you hear them in your area at night.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 3:23PM
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I haven't heard any owls. The only swooshing I hear and that covers up everything else comes from light sabers. I was surprised to learn that I am Darth Vader.

I'm thinking owl or other winged predator. I did see some yucky goop near the roofline. Too high for one of those HD diy power washers to reach.

And now I can look forward to the rest of the week. Usually my weekly disasters take up a bit more time than this one although this has to rank up there as a rather gory disaster. Just wish I could find the head before the flies do.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 5:45PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Don't worry, Sheila, you're not going to find the head. It's been eaten. I do know that owls, and maybe hawks, often eat just the head as the brain contains so many nutrients.

I'd put my money on it being a hawk, maybe a Cooper's hawk, that got the squirrel 'cause squirrels are normally in bed when the owls are out foraging. I think an owl is more likely to get noctural animals, such as rabbits.

Also, I've seen Cooper's hawks go after squirrel - and get them, although I've never seen them take just the head. The whole thing is normally taken back to the nest for the young.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 7:42PM
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Well, I did look for the head. And didn't find it. Is it usual procedure for the hawk to store the body? It was put away rather neatly...


    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 8:32PM
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Actually I find squirrels to be a nuisance, breaking off Camellia buds thinking they're nuts, as well as digging. Animals buried near the surface may be unearthed by skunks or other animals after decomposition has set in. Squirrels 'keep' well in a heavy garbage bag until trash pickup. Be glad for predators!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 10:14PM
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I'm no fan of squirrels. Just this morning some cheeky tree rat sat on the ledge of my dining room windows and spent a good ten minutes looking in. Not at all fazed by my presence or the cat's. I kept hoping that whatever got the last one would get this one but no such luck.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 9:34AM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

It could be, Sheila, that the hawk sat on the grill hood to eat the squirrel - but that's just a guess.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 10:10AM
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At least that was closed. I should go out there now to make sure the shed is too. But the mosquitoes are out...I'll check in the morning...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 9:03PM
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dighappy(z7 NJ)

Sheila, can I have your autograph. Your response my "owl theory" made me laugh outloud.

Dig (fan of Darth Vader)(sorta)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 3:30PM
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transplant_england(z6 NJ)

It may be a neighbourhood cat. Our 1 year old tabby has killed and partially eaten 6 squirrels this year that I know of. Yes, we do feed him. He loves to eat the brains and the base of the tail, then leave the rest for us. I do get mad at them for digging up bulbs etc but not so much that I wanted to unlease this killing machine. I did think of making one of those hats out of the tails but thought better of it.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 7:29PM
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Hi Transplant England
Could I rent your cat?
Just kidding.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 9:10AM
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Uh, Dig, That would be Darth Vader to you. Would you believe that I was totally unaware that I was, in fact, Darth Vader until recently when reluctantly engaged in a light saber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi who informed of me of my true identity? Apparently that is but one of my other personas. Most of them evil for some reason. Obi-Wan has wandering personas too especially since he figured out that Obi-Wan's body gets killed by DV in Episode 4.

OMG- I really have to find a good babysitter and get out more often.

Sheila aka Darth Vader

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 11:02AM
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Most cats will not go after squirrels, but I heard foxes will. Anyone have a fox for rent?

My brother used to sell the squirrel tails he got hunting. He would send them off, and get a check in the mail. This was 30 years ago, but you might want to look into it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 11:53AM
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transplant_england(z6 NJ)

Interesting - how much a tail?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 6:20PM
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Our cat 'Max' takes to eating heads off things as well, no squirrels yet. He ate the head off 2 baby rabbits, several small birds, the hamster, catches other rodents but does not eat their heads. Funny how only certain things will he eat their heads off! (you did warn it was a gross subject after all) The snake he did not even eat, he just toyed with it until my kids snatched it up to play with for some time. He's only a year old and quite the hunter. My kids joked he would soon be dragging home a deer (I WISH!) But squirrels would be quite the match for a cat, right?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:10PM
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