Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Predator in My Backyard


Saturday night I arrived home at around 7:30. I had been running errands with a few detours to take pictures. I was burdened with a bag of take-out Chinese, my purse and camera as I exited my garage. As the door opened, I looked down and was startled by the body of a large rabbit. We’ve had a least one backyard bunny over the past few years but this one would eat my garden no more.
I’m not terribly squeamish but I did not have the stomach to dispose of the carcass, especially while bringing dinner home. I figured it could wait. Once home, I analyzed my options. I didn’t want to leave it for my younger son to see as he would have obsessed about the dead bunny for weeks. I didn’t want to pick it up myself. So I had only a few hours to plot.
My choices were: 1. Pretend I hadn’t seen it and hope my husband discovered it in the morning and took care of it. 2. Be straight forward and ask my husband to get rid of it. He might feel gallant and do so. Then again he might not.
We indulge in a bit of tug of war at my house regarding gross things. Largely this involves those times when one of the cats poops or pukes on the floor. Both kids and my husband would like to assume that “mom will deal with it.” Sometimes mom doesn’t want to be the designated poop or barf cleaner-upper.
I take an attitude akin to that of my sons’ motto: “He who smelt it dealt it.” This is one of those delightful sayings you pick up when raising sons. In a household with boys, no fart can pass unmentioned. Usually it goes thusly: “EEEWW,” says one of the five boys hanging out in front of the TV playing a video game. “He who smelt it dealt it,” says another boy. And so on. Of course this is supposed to mean that the first to mention the aroma is the one who produced it. By this point I am rolling my eyes and wishing for daughters.
This ditty applies to cat leavings as follows: if you find it, you clean it up (kids exempt). If the kids find it, the nearest parent gets to clean it up. You can try to pretend you didn’t notice the large cat turd on the living room floor but that is cheating. So too with the rabbit. I really ought to have picked it up, or at least meekly confessed that gross anatomy and autopsies notwithstanding, I have a queasy stomach for dead things.
The next morning I was the first to head to the garage. I had almost convinced myself that I could dispose of the dead rabbit. But nature had beaten me to it. It was gone.
I guess that whatever had killed the rabbit in the first place came back to get it once I had moved on. It was dark then and I’m not sure if our neighborhood hawk will hunt after dark. It could have been an owl. I don’t think there are coyotes in my part of town. I tend to doubt it was a cat or dog. I’ve never seen a dog prowling loose around here and the rabbit was a bit large for a cat. Plus there were no bones or fur left around. In fact, if there wasn’t a small tuft of fur on the ground where I had seen the dead rabbit, I might have doubted whether there ever had been a rabbit there at all.
I’m glad the predator in my back yard took care of the carcass disposal. I’m glad it managed to retrieve its meal. But I will miss the bunny. Of course, the way they breed there will be 20 more where that one came from.


Kathe said...

So are saying if you were my neighbor, you'd call ME to deal with the dead bunny? (Like my neighbor, Christy, did with the squirrels who committed suicide in her son's pool.) ;^) I am most definitely NOT squeamish.

JL said...

Raccoon, opossum, or more than likely a cat. The feral cats in my Chicago neighborhood were fearless and ruthless hunters.

One of them attacked my 50-lb dog on my own back steps unprovoked, and I eventually had to... uh... dispose of it.

JL said...

I had a neighbor who would routinely find drowned squirrels in her kids' pool; like every two weeks or so!

She finally went to the pool supply place and asked if there was anything they had to keep this from happening.

They made up a label on their printer entitled SQUIRREL-B-GONE and pasted it on a shampoo bottle, and went through the prank of selling it to her for $9.95 before revealing it was a joke...

She was a good sport about it.

Kathe said...

*LOL @ jl* That's EXACTLY what happened! They found a squirrel one week, then another two weeks later.

jkirlin said...

Funny..this rabbit LOOKS PERFECTLY FINE HERE!!!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I'm not one to dispose of anything deceased either...
I don't even handle creepy crawly things well.

I've got my boss trained; he is in charge of disposing any and all things that crawl into the office... including the rare unsavory fellow or sales person!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Andrée said...

Yup, those predators often do the dirty work. They do here. I use a snow shovel to get the cat kills out of the garage. The mowing guy graciously takes care of cat kills left out in the sun. In the summer, grandson, being a guy, seems to enjoy body collecting. But when I am alone, I shovel into the driveway and the next day, the body is always mysteriously gone.

I really hate thinking, though, of the activity going on out there in the night while I am asleep. Who is taking the bodies away? Is it at dawn? Midnight? Gives me the creeps.

sarala said...

I had a long day at work today and having 7 comments to moderate at the end of it made my evening. Thanks for reading and sharing your dead animal stories!

Jud said...

Too bad you didn't know when it was killed, because it might have been tasty.

I may sound like some backwood Southerner, but rabbits can be very tasty.

One reason not too immediately pick up a dead critter is fleas, because as the body cools they will look for a new host.