There's never a shortage of mysteries in Hodari Nundu's land!
I just found the tip of the tail of some sort of mammal laying on the floor.
I first thought they were feathers, but no; its fur, and still attached to a very thin tail.
The fur is orange-brown with dark stripes.
My first impulse was to look for the rest of the animal everywhere, since, I figured, it must have been killed and dragged into the house by one of my five cats.
But no luck. No body, not even blood traces or more fur. Just the tip of the tail. A search in the backyard is just as futile.
So the question is... what animal has a furry tail with orange and black stripes around here? I have seen opossums around but they are whitish-grey, not orange, and have hairless tails.
I once saw a fox looking for food under cars outside my house too, but I have never seen a stripey fox, and plus the tail is too small for a fox.
So, that leaves us with...
- Weasel? Right size and color but, weasels don´t have stripes.
- Raccoon? Never seen an orange raccoon, though... plus the tail seems too thin...
- Coati? Maybe...
- Ringtail? Possibly (although they usually have white and black rings)
- Sinosauropteryx? Would fit perfectly, but would be too good to be true! XD
Plus I'm pretty sure its fur and not proto-feathers.
Problem is, raccoons, coatis and ringtails, even though likely to be present in the area, are fierce carnivorans that wouldn´t be easily defeated by cats. But wait! There's another possibility...
... a ring-tailed ground squirrel!
These little guys are endemic to western Mexico and very poorly known, so much in fact that (to my knowledge) there are no photos of them online! I have seen them crossing roads, though. They are kind of orange-ish and they have stripey tails, and they would be a much easier catch for a cat than any of the animals I mentioned before!
This assuming of course that the cats did kill it. But since there is no body anywhere and no blood traces at all, Im doubting it. Maybe an owl or some other bird of prey ate the thing on one of the trees in the backyard and dropped the tail before flying off with the rest of the carcass, and then a cat dragged the bit of tail inside?
Alas, I may never know. My cats know that I usually steal their kills (to prevent them from getting parasites or even poison, you know), so they may very well be hiding the body somewhere... the little bastards!
See you next week with more Nundu Mystery!