Forest Forensics

P1000190While tracking out behind my house, I settled in for a quick lunch half way up a gully overlooking a brook that was moving swiftly from the melting snow. As I stood up to seek a way through the thick laurel, I spotted clumps of hair poking through the leaf litter. Pulling back the leaves, I discovered a voluminous pile of hair and quills of a porcupine. As I probed the site, I discovered the skull a few feet away.

In examining it, I noticed the bones on the upper ridge of the nasal cavity had been broken. My forensic conclusion is that a fisher likely predated upon it. Fishers will attempt to corner porcupines and then lash out at their quill free faces. When the animal weakens from blood loss, they will sometimes then go for the throat. Eventually, the fisher will feed on the porcupine through the belly, which is also free of quills.


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