Tuesday, January 16, 2007

To Gnaw


I came across a large bone on the forest floor which was probably left by a predator such as a fox or coyote that had either killed the animal it belonged to or had confiscated it from a kill site. Upon closer examination I discovered fine lines all along it edges. These lines were the cut marks left behind by the teeth of some sort of rodent. Bones, along with the shed antlers of deer, are loaded with calcium and phosphorous and are eaten by rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels for these minerals. That's why deer sheds are so hard to find. Also, rodents have only one set of chisel-shaped teeth their entire lives, which continue to grow. They must gnaw on something hard in order to keep them sharp and to provide wear to prevent overgrowth. An interesting find. Click on pic for closer view. By the way....the word rodent originated from the Latin verb rodere- meaning to gnaw.

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