Monday, November 05, 2007

I found a piece of tail!

Fearless friends of the Forest... I went back to find the tail I'd left hanging from a tree. (see previous post). Molly spotted the cutoff to the hill, and Jon decided to sit on a rock while I scrambled up a mountain side looking for it, then stumbled back down, disappointed, only to find it almost where he was sitting on the rock, still hanging in the tree. I stuffed it in my pack.

What kind of tail is this? (Looks like a furry turkey neck!) It's at least 20" long with bones still inside, circumference same for entire length, fur mottled as in this sample picture, lighter on underside. (I need a better camera, or steadier hands.)

Aside from the bones within the tail, there were no bones anywhere around the fur or tail scattered on pine needles. I think it might be a baby mountain lion, maybe brought down by a pack of coyotes? But the fur was relatively long, and as I said before, very soft.

I hung it from a high branch outside the kitchen window, knowing Molly would be obsessed with it if it were inside the house.

And what's a picture of a piece of tail without a picture of bear poop? I have no idea why this photo is so strange, but I was mighty nervous while taking it.

and finally, friends, an exploding puffball mushroom, gigantic, about the size of an ostrich egg:


Namowal said...

Interesting stuff out in the woods, Sally. I hope you find out what kind of tail that was.

Sally said...

Namowal, I thought you were going to help me out here!

Maybe I'll send it to Dinah for dna testing. (Talk about your away from home comfort boxes! Honey- I found this tail...)

I've been reading up on weasels and martens, but neither one quite fits.

One last tail story:

Years ago we found a fatter and more substantial tail up here, when Dinah was little. It's quite fluffy and attractive in a weird detached tail sort of way.

And I used to tease Dinah that the tail's owner was coming back through the crawl space saying, "WHERE'S..MY..TAIL??" (spoken slowly, deeply).

At a certain point, not soon enough I suppose, I realized it was really creeping her out.

I still have that tail in her toy chest in case who know's who is trying to find it. (email me)

sal said...

Maybe you can start a piece of tail museum! You're getting quite a collection....

p.s. sal said...

I'm still impressed you know bear poop when you see it. Once I was hiking in the mountains and some women coming up the trail I was going down said they had heard (they thought) a baby bear(or bears). They kept hiking up, and I ran all the way down.

Sally said...


Molly barked intermittently all night long, which she's not done since we got here. At dawn I saw a coyote running across the yard. When I went down to make coffee I followed Molly outside. The tail is missing. Jon thinks Molly took it. At one point last night I had to let her out. Who knows?

ps a great book on tracks and scat is Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks by Olaus Murie, currently unavailable.

linda said...

I've done some research. In Chapter IV of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, a tail is lost and then found. It looks like this could be that very one. Does a gloomy donkey live nearby?

Namowal said...

Maybe the "WHERE'S.... MY.... TAIL..?" critter repossessed it?
Either that or Molly's up no good. You sure she's not hocking it on eBay?
On the serious side, here's an online list of mammals that may help.®ionSelect=Rocky+Mountains®ionZIP=

Sally said...

EEyore= childhood revisited, Linda. I forgot about the missing tail.

Namowal, that's a great site. The full link didn't load but I tracked it and it's amazing the way you can enter your zip code and find all animals that may live in your area.

Funny about hocking on ebay too!

sal said...

I need a better camera AND steadier hands. Everything I take is a bit out of focus: it's so darned slow I can't stay still (and my subject can't) that long.