Field Encounters: The mystery of the hyrax head

2년 전

Not everything I come across in my day to day is a cute little elephant shrew (https://steemit.com/steemstem/@holothewise/field-encounters-on-the-trail-of-the-elephant-shrew-original-footage), though some findings are certainly stranger than others. Today, walking through the fynbos, I found this:

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Yes, that is the disembodied head of a Rock Hyrax - Procavia capensis

Curious, my colleague and I spent some time looking around for the body to no avail and noticed too how cleanly the head had been removed from it:

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I'm no expert in identifying predators from the carcasses they leave but I suspect there aren't many things in these mountains that could do this

The hard stony ground made it difficult to find any tracks to boot, so it's impossible for me to say what killed this little guy, but the usual culprits include animals such as leopard:

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Panthera pardus

Or the smaller caracal:

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Caracal caracal

though some larger birds of prey and snakes are known to take them too, but the positioning on the ground and severed head seem to indicate this isn't the case. Another possible predator is the serval:

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Leptailurus serval

though these are more typical of grassland areas.

If I had to put my money on one of these, I'd probably go with the caracal, though leopards have been seen in these mountains. Regardless of which it was, it's always a thrill to find one is sharing these wide, wild spaces with such beautiful neighbors, even if all we ever see of them is evidence.

Happy Steeming People,
The Wise Fox

Hyrax facts: http://www.outtoafrica.nl/animals/enghyrax.html?zenden=2&subsoort_id=4&bestemming_id=1
First two images are my own, the rest from wikimedia commons

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Shit mate! I would have straight up run for it!

Great read :p

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We don't work there at night, so pretty safe ;)

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Night, evening, day... the murderous decapitating monster can strike at any time!

Sketchy walking around there then, make it more interesting I guess 💯🐒

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Honestly, I would have been delighted to see either a caracal or leopard face to face there :)

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Sure would make for a great experience! Hope you post it when you eventually do 💯🐒

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I'm pretty sure I'll be too enthralled to take pictures 😂

Wow very interesting. I bet there is a lot of things hidden around the world :D

Oooh, didn't see this one somehow- It's just like a cat to leave random body parts lying around.

Congratulations on posting the first non-cute picture of a hyrax to the internet.

The caracal makes up for it though.

Wow! This is not the kind of post that I get to see every day.

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Not the sort of thing I run into every day either - some field days are certainly more interesting than others ;)

What an interestign find and the head seems to have bene cut off quite cleanly very interesting

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Indeed. It's possible whatever was munching the hyrax was disturbed and ran off with the body.

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Thats a very good point