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

  • Thread starter livejamie
  • Start date
L

livejamie

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:

LKLNY.jpg


"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.

Thanks!
 
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:

drizzle

Gold Member
352
54
quite strange...........could it be a hybrid animal?
 

drizzle

Gold Member
352
54
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.
that looks close to it
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Borek

Mentor
27,986
2,475
Looks pretty young to me, thus proportions can differ from the adult. Baby mink sounds (and looks) reasonable.
 
194
0
Tasmanian Devil?
 
248
0
Last edited by a moderator:
248
0

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
44
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.
 
L

livejamie

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.
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:
http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/fishers/fisher3.jpg

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:
http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/fishers/fisher3.jpg

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:
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:

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
44
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.
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.
 
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.
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.
 
L

livejamie

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

Jamie

I teach mammalogy at GVSU and was forwarded your message/question from the Biology Dept.

The animal in question is a young melanistic gray squirrel, lots of local folks call them black squirrels. When squirrels are young the tail fur doesn't shoot out to the sides (giving them the typical squirrel tail we think of).

Any further questions could be directed to myself. Cheers, Prof. Joe Jacquot
When I said thanks and why it wasn't a fisher cat/marten I got this response:

The feet were the clear give away, the head shape and teeth are squirrel, not carnivore shaped. Depending on where your friend is in MI, martens and fishers may not be present any ways (but that info wasn't in the message).
So it's a satisfying end to this mystery, methinks.

Thanks again for your sluethting PFers, I think we all learned a few things. :)
 
1,120
7
Yep, look at the teeth and front paws, its a baby black squirrel.
 
248
0
1634298413_b518005985.jpg
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
44
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!
 

Redbelly98

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
12,036
123
Yep, look at the teeth and front paws, its a baby black squirrel.
Just saw this thread, and that was my guess when I first saw the picture. (Our cat has familiarized me with how baby squirrels look.)
 
I live in Michigan, I have seen an animal once that looked like this. It was like a cat with a pointy face. I didn't get a great look cause it went in the bush.
 

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top