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February 02, 2008

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Tim Abbott

Perseverance pays off, Charlie. These are the rib bones (and a couple of vertebrae) of an eastern Timber Rattlesnake, a protected species in the states where it is at the extreme edge of its contiguous range north of Pennsylvania. What are significantly missing are the head and rattles. An owl or hawk would have left evidence of the rattles and probably also the skull. Someone killed the snake and took these as trophies. It happened long enough in the past for the skeleton to be picked clean, but the Environmental Police needed to know that the site was still vulnerable to poaching and that is what I shared with them.

You might also have noticed a few pine needles in the bag. I found the skeleton very near a known timber rattlesnake den, though they can roam miles from their den sites.

Charlie Crystle

came across this massive snake while investigating...http://hillcountryofmonroecountry.blogspot.com/2007/06/rattlesnake.html

so I'm guessing the poacher skinned the snake and removed the bones for the meat on the spot. the vertabrae is a clue, maybe along with the clean break on some of the ribs.

Charlie Crystle

ok, too many bones for a bird or mammal that I can think of. rattlesnake.

Thomas MacEntee

Is it a porcupine?

Charlie Crystle

I'm out of my league here...

Tim Abbott

O.K., CSI fans, here's what you need to do. If you study the bag closely, you will find that it contains bones that are almost all the same type. And there are alot of them. You might also notice something else in the bag that tells you a bit more about the site where I found the bones, and you'll get extra points for that, but focus on the bones. So many bones...and almost all the same sort. What sort? What kind of animal has so many of them?

Nuff hints. See what you can do.

Tim Abbott

Nope. I called the Environmental police because the animal in question is a state-listed rare species and was clearly poached. Now who is gonna figure out how I knew that? Besides the seven years previous employment with The Nature Conservancy, I mean.

Marty Lnageland

Cat? And you called the animal control officer to get the coyote?
or is that still just a west coast thing?
--ml

Tim Abbott

So click on the bag. Almost all the bones are...what?

Charlie Crystle

Ok, now I'm thinking about it. Animal--small, bigger than a squirrel, possibly a rabbit, but knowing where you are, I'd guess it's possibly a groundhog, beaver, unlikely an otter, but definitely a mammal. unless of course it's not.

culprit: look for a hawk. Mammals don't destroy skeletons quite like that. Aside from humans, I mean.

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