Report from George Redpath
I was called out this morning to examine the body of a roe, thought to have possibly been killed by a big cat. I'm sending you a couple of the photographs I took. The interesting part is that the muzzle of the deer had been partially eaten but when I skinned the head the bruising and injuries to the throat are clearly visible. What do you think. Cat Kill?
Difficult to establish what other injuries that may have been inflicted during the kill. It appeared to me to have been a clean kill by suffocation but nothing in cat research is ever quite as simple. I took other photographs of the carcase as it was quite a fresh kill, just a few hours at most before I got there. All internal organs had been removed and either eaten apart from the stomach contents which had been removed and left nearby. By the amount of green material in the stomach it seem that the deer had been grazing in the field for some time before the attack. It had been eaten from between the rear legs up to the chest and the chest cavity was empty apart from some blood which had not yet congealed. One of the rear legs, the whole haunch was missing and as I found no trace of the hoof I assume that it had been carried away.
25 th October 2003
Re the deer kill pics, the initial photograph, with roe deer with
broken antler, jutting forward, reminded me of a road-casualty,
which had been scavenged from by badgers.
I have seen badger attacks on sheep, in particular ewes exhibiting difficult pregnancies, and having been lying on the ground for a lengthy period. Small VERY neat little bite marks to abdomenal skin and underlying muscles, giving a scalloped appearance to wound edges, in some instances individual teeth marks evident.
HOWEVER, skinned out, much bruising to the neck/throat, may indeed be indicative of an asphyxiating attack, such as with large felids. (and indeed, the amount of meat/viscera removed in such a short period of time, if carcase was indeed relatively fresh - would suggest something with large capacity to store 'wolfed down' foodstuffs.)
I suppose with all these carcases being found, an initiating kill AND subsequent scavenging later on is always a possibility.
Very interesting, love the photos!
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