Saturday 7 June 2008

CSI Offaly

Nothing much to say on the suburban fox scene...we see them all the time, snoozing peacefully in the fine weather. Every night one of them will check the feeding station in my garden, finding something about every second night. At times we hear noises of yelping and scrabbling - maybe those cubs do come out at night, if they exist...(pout!)

We had some different nature study last weekend, down in the country.

you may recall that I got some replacement frogspawn from a bucket that had been left outside the cottage. (That batch of spawn, too, is all gone)

Well, the bucket had been left in situ, and now become all green and slimy. So I went to empty it out as we were cutting grass and tidying up, etc. It smelt quite rank and rotten. I poured it into a basin and was a bit shocked when the body of a dead mouse poured over the rim. Poor little thing, I thought, fell in headfirst and couldn't climb out! I tossed the tiny body far away into the shrubbery and carried on. Oh, no! Another one! Just went to get a drink, I suppose, and two drownings! Musing on the tragedy, I continued and now what's this? Skeletal bones? The unmistakeably hand-like outline was quickly followed by the pale and swollen body of a dead frog.

No wonder the water smelt rotten. Bucket of Death, indeed!

Yet, what had caused this carnage? I didn't think that frogs could drown. Or that they couldn't jump out of a bucket in which they had spawned. Here at home, our frog seems to live underwater in the pond for much of the time, stirring it up in agitation if we disturb it too much. (Well, it floats at water level, fixing us with a beady eye.)

And the mice: Why would they climb up a steep slope and dive headfirst into a bucket, when there is a stream a few yards away and a canal a few yards more? with sloping banks and grass to grip, etc?

It all got cleaned up anyway, but I am sobered by the contemplation of that slaughterhouse of slime!

Better be careful next winter to leave nothing out except maybe a shallow pan with sloping sides.


Kris said...

Nasty! Not a nice surprise finding those poor animals :o(

Hope you do get to see the cubs before they grow up too much. I haven't seen any cubs around here either, though I am sure they are there because I have seen two suckling mums.

Love reading your blog!

Foxwife said...

Nice to hear from you, Kris!

Kris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kris said...

I put some photos of my local foxes on my photography blog on

Norie said...

I had a similar experience. Put out a rain barrel to gather rain for my potted plants. Didn't have a screen cover on it. Very much to my chagrin, I found that a mother wren who had nested in the cap of the propane tank died, and a squirrel too.