Monday, October 10, 2011
Chats du jour: Mighty huntress #7
I told you the other day that I was glad that the trash had not been picked up before I could discard the battered, 12% eaten corpse of the chipmunk Laverne had so proudly shown me earlier in the day.
I have my suspicions about that corpse and my friend Bridget and I discussed them when she dropped off some paperwhite bulbs this morning.*
In all the time Laverne has been killing small varmints, she has never tried to eat one.
Maybe, despite her frantic meowing that starts 90 minutes before suppertime EVERY DAY,** she isn't that hungry.
If she were as hungry as she maintains she is (she also wakes me up with her crying in the morning if I haven't fed her by 6:50), then I would think those mice and chipmunks would look pretty good.
I don't think she ate it. I think it was dead and chewed on when she found it.
No, I don't have a good alternative suspect for the killing, but here are the facts:
1. The chipmunk was definitely dead when Laverne brought it to my attention. It had blood coming out of its mouth. Usually, when Laverne actually kills her catch (as opposed to keeping it alive for as long as possible so she can chase and capture it over and over), she kills it by biting it through the middle or at the neck or, I assume, by breaking its neck. I didn't see any puncture wounds on this chipmunk.
2. I didn't make her drop the chipmunk and get rid of it right away as I usually do because I was hoping she might hide the body in the neighbor's yard and then I wouldn't have to deal with it. I do not like picking up dead rodents, even with two small gardening tools as extensions of my hands.
3. When I finally did have to get rid of the body, after Laverne whined to come in because someone seven houses away was cutting his grass and the lawnmower makes noise and noise is scary, it was already stiff. With flies. None of her other kills have reached stiff + flies. How long does it take for rigor mortis to set in for a chipmunk? Google is completely useless for this information.
4. The chipmunk was missing half of its jaw, which may have been because of Laverne but if you were a cat and wanted to eat a dead chipmunk, would a bony, tooth-containing part of the body be where you would start? Not me. I would start with a nice fleshy hind leg. Laverne eats peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and blueberries. She likes soft things. She gave up after that one bite of the banana. Although it could be that she doesn't like banana peel.
After I made my "no maggots and where are the bluenose flies?" observation, Bridget suggested that we could take the temperature of the chipmunk's liver to determine the time of death, except neither of us knows what the live liver temperature of a chipmunk is supposed to be. If you google to get that information, you get recipes for cooking squirrels. Which is not helpful.
Here is my theory: some other animal killed the chipmunk. Laverne found it and thought she would fool me and get all kinds of "Laverne you are such an amazing hunter!" credit from me, although I have not been praising her for her kills so much lately because I really don't like being the cleanup crew. She didn't think I would use my forensic skills to analyze the situation. But I am on to her and this chipmunk is not going in her score.
* Bridget, I promise I am usually out of my pajamas by 9:45 a.m. Really, I am. Usually, I have switched to gym clothes, which are just as unflattering and inappropriate for public viewing but at least are somewhat designed to be worn outside of the house.
** I have never forgotten to feed her. Never. So this desperation puzzles me.