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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Death and Survival

The skiing was really great today, but that's not what I want to tell you about.

This is one of those events that you just stumble into... right place, right time. OK, I might have actually seen what happened if I'd been there a little sooner, but my very presence would have changed the outcome, and it's unlikely that I would have gotten good pictures anyway, but in the snow, we can read the story.

I've known for a long time that we have a fox that prowls the back edge of the property. I often see his tracks, and can smell his musky presence. Computer geeks need to develop a way for you to press a key and experience an odor. Today, on our morning excursion, the fox musk smell was stronger than I've ever known it to be. It was so extraordinary that Maggie passed up her chance to sneak off for a deersicle snack and went snuffling around various sets of tracks. These tracks are those of the fox, not Maggie's. They are obviously the dog family, fast walk pattern.

Ultimately, Maggie ended up exploring this clump of grass.

Pretty soon she was skulking off with something in her mouth which I retrieved from her. But first, take a look at that grass. See all those tracks around it? One set is my dog's. All the rest tell me that the fox circled around that grass and finally plunged its nose in at the base of the clump.

Here's found what Maggie found. Except the fox got there first, when it was alive and hopeful of hiding under the snow. All that's left now is this little patch of skin and fur. It's pretty beat up, but is the back of a 13-lined ground squirrel. Don't mourn too much. We have hundreds of those little rodents, and I'd rather have the fox be well-fed.


Anonymous said...

as cruel as it may seem, it's nature at work, and the fox needs to eat. Great photos.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Chris- Thanks! I'm always delighted when I actually find one of these stories in the snow. The mini-dramas are much less easy to find evidence of in the summer.

Lin said...

Ugh. Not such a quality day for the little guy. :(

Anonymous said...

Different country, but when the fox came to take our chickens - in broad daylight - I wasn't too keen on him or her being well-fed. When the squirrels chomped their way through our roof (thatched) I wasn't too keen on them either. It's all a question of perspective. :)

Ratty said...

Hi Sharkbytes. I hope you don't mind, but I'm inviting you to a game of "Tag", and you're it.

Take a look at my post to find out about it.

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