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What did my friend's cat kill? [PIC]

  1. Aug 17, 2009 #1
    I've been looking for some sort of Scientific forum to post this in to see if I can get some sort of person who knows a lot about animals to help.

    It doesn't seem quite right for the "Biology" section - so I'll try posting in here.

    My friend sent me this picture:


    "Okay, my cat kills rats and mice all the time, but I'm pretty sure this isn't one. Rats/mice have hairless tails, and this thing has a furry black tail, and it's about twice as big as anything else my cat has killed."

    At first I thought it was a Mink or a Muskrat, but I'm pretty stumped.

    He lives in Michigan.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2009 #2
    That's interesting. The snout definitely looks like a rodent. The paws seem a bit large making me think it may have been a young... what ever it is.

    http://www.bowhunter-ed.com/mi/course/ch2_wildlife_glossary.htm [Broken]
    According to this site there are Minks in the Michigan area and the picture looks similar.

    It does look like an infant mink..
    http://www.arkofva.com/ARK-of-Virginia-InfantAnim.html [Broken]
    About half way down the page.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Aug 17, 2009 #3


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    quite strange...........could it be a hybrid animal?
  5. Aug 17, 2009 #4


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    that looks close to it
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Aug 17, 2009 #5


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    Looks pretty young to me, thus proportions can differ from the adult. Baby mink sounds (and looks) reasonable.
  7. Aug 17, 2009 #6
    Tasmanian Devil?
  8. Aug 17, 2009 #7
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  9. Aug 17, 2009 #8
    Tails are not that long and they have more white spots. Also their legs are shorter.
  10. Aug 17, 2009 #9
    ... also, Michigan... :uhh:
  11. Aug 17, 2009 #10


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    It could also be a baby fisher. Adult fishers kill cats (as well as porcupines), so if your friend's cat doesn't show up for supper some day, don't be too surprised.
  12. Aug 17, 2009 #11
    Yeah, I think this is the closest answer so far.

    According to http://www.outdoor-michigan.com/Mammals.htm [Broken] there's two types in Michigan, American Marten and Fisher, couldn't find any decent pictures of young ones but from the shape of the ears I'd lean towards Fisher.

    Thanks for the input so far everybody, I'm glad you found it as interesting as I did. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Aug 17, 2009 #12

    Baby fisher? Looks close, but the snout looks different.. Although the one that's killed looks like it's a lot younger, so it might be.

    Edit: Found another pic, a little younger. Go http://www.superstock.com/stock-photography/baby+animal" [Broken] and look at the 4th picture down on the left, in the (cherry blossom?) tree. It's more reddish/orange in color, but it's probably either from the season or the environment it's in. That one looks much closer, so I think a Fisher would be a correct thing to say.

    Good job Turbo! :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Aug 17, 2009 #13
    Yeah, I haven't been able to find any infant pics of Fishers. Maybe its because they are so aggressive, their nests are probably hard to get to. The ears are much closer as Jamie points out. According to the info I found it is a little late for infants though. They are apparently generally born in the winter.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Aug 17, 2009 #14


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    Fishers breed in late winter and early spring with a 10-month delay in implantation. The little ones are born in the spring and raised in the summer. They are already eating meat by the time they are weaned.
  16. Aug 17, 2009 #15
    Ah, what I found wasn't so specific. It said they were born about 11 months later, the next winter. So I assumed they were conceived and born in winter.
  17. Aug 17, 2009 #16
    I appreciate all the work and brainstorming that you guys put into our little mystery, but we were all wrong.

    The overwhelming consensus from every single scientist and professor that I emailed in Michigan is that it's actually a squirrel.

    One of the responses was this

    When I said thanks and why it wasn't a fisher cat/marten I got this response:

    So it's a satisfying end to this mystery, methinks.

    Thanks again for your sluethting PFers, I think we all learned a few things. :)
  18. Aug 17, 2009 #17
    Yep, look at the teeth and front paws, its a baby black squirrel.
  19. Aug 17, 2009 #18
  20. Aug 17, 2009 #19

    Look at the paws. Out of proportion.
  21. Aug 17, 2009 #20


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    Makes sense, because even though the original image is pretty soft, the claws appear to be out. Fishers' claws are retractable, like those of a cat. Still, I have a hard time imagining that a baby squirrel could be twice a big as a rat, so I had to go with a juvenile of a much larger species. Hyperbole, perhaps? Fun, anyway!
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