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What Fed?On A Dead Baby Kit Fox?

December 21, 2013
By ROBERT M. UNGERER ( , The Post-Journal

During a trip to the Adirondack Mountains in New York State in late July this year I discovered an intact dead kit fox at the edge of the woods in the back yard of the cabin friends let my wife and I stay in for a weekend. The next morning, to my shock and surprise, the young fox body was lying in the same place with its vital and essential parts completely removed. Gone were the lungs, heart, liver and intestines; the fox had been eviscerated. Ribs at the lower end of the chest and the vertebra below were clearly visible. The limbs and head remained untouched. The sight was startling. Over the next several weeks I sought an answer to what fed on this dead fox. A seasoned big game hunter and state environmental conservation officer both suggested it could be several different predators. My fellow bird watching friends thought a vulture did it. My veterinarian thought I should have examined and measured the bite pattern to help narrow the possibilities. A related approach was offered by John Rappole, a professional ornithologist, which I decided to investigate. He suggested studying dental patterns of mammals to determine which were capable of cutting, slicing and consuming the soft tissue of the abdominal and chest cavity, leaving the remaining body untouched.



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