What Is This Small Animal?

What Is This Small Animal? title=
What Is This Small Animal?
43 Comments
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By an edhat reader

I found this small mammal (see tail only) in my birdbath this morning, courtesy of the crows. It’s that time of the year, when crows and Scrub jays predate upon nestlings, lizards and baby rodents. This may have been a cat-killed creature retrieved by the crows. (There are two killer cats constantly roaming my yard, thanks to my neighbors.) I have no clue as to what kind of animal has this type of bushy black tail. The tail is approximately 8” in length and more reddish underneath. 

The rest of the mammal looked to be about 8” long, but difficult to tell. I am not showing you the carcass, just two views, top and bottom, of the tail. So far my research indicates it is not a gerbil, a chinchilla or a weasel. Could it be a Bushy-tailed jird? Jird is some new pet craze. I thought maybe it belonged to a chipmunk, but it doesn’t look fluffy enough. Thank you for any help with identifying this mammal. (If you lost your exotic pet, I found this animal’s remains on the Upper East Side.)

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Emmenanthe Jun 20, 2018 10:53 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

So sad . . . I used to live in a 1984 development off Hwy 154 that had wood rats, brush rabbits, raccoons, skunks, deer mice, chorus frogs, quail, roadrunners, white-tailed kites, red-shouldered hawks, barn owls, gopher snakes, king snakes, and more. 30 years later, thanks to cats, all gone except introduced rats, introduced mice, raccoons and skunks.

Roger Jun 21, 2018 11:57 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

I agree cats don't kill raccoons, hawks, owls, I had a cat attacked by a hawk, and a raccoon, it cost me money some of you are trolling not nice, not nice at all..Jerks.

a-1532262937 Jun 20, 2018 09:09 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Oh, I almost forgot, there were also coyotes in the development off of 154. They used to go hunting at night. They might have something to do with the loss of some animals.

a-1532262937 Jun 20, 2018 09:06 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

EMMENANTHE- I used to live in a development off of 154 until last year. Couldn't go outside a lot due to sun allergy. However, I still saw hawks, raccoons, a fox, brush rabbits, owls (heard them outside my bedroom at night, too), several gopher snakes (who couldn't keep up with the gophers), quail, roadrunners, skunks (thankfully only smelled them occasionally), and more, off and on through the time, just before the house had to be sold. Probably will be fewer around that house, as the new owners took out a lot of the plants,that gave them places to live and hide. The fact that I still saw them, as well as roaming cats occasionally over the years (who were usually after gophers, since they would patiently be waiting outside the gophers holes), meant to me that the cats weren't killing them. Often had birds and bunnies 'grazing' in the back yard. If the numbers decline, I would expect that loss of their habitat around the house, which gave them food and shelter, will reduce some of their numbers. Not cats, especially. Oh, and, I'm confused. Were the skunks and raccoons always there, or only 'introduced' (as you indicate they were there, but then were introduced). Rats and mice don't need to be introduced, they just go wherever they want to.

a-1532262937 Jun 20, 2018 10:56 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

EMMENANTHE - really? Any proof that cats killed off raccoons, hawks and owls? Couldn't possibly some other predator? Or perhaps, humans?

pii Jun 20, 2018 08:47 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

I have a woodrat in my Hav-a-Hart trap. Bushy-tailed Wood Rats are not found here. Mine is a Dusky-footed Wood Rat. Tail has much shorter fur. Much neater. I am not an expert. My reference is Mammals of the pacific States, by Ingles. Copyright 1947, 1954 & 1965. I live in a rural part of Santa Ynez. He will be going for a ride in a few minutes and get relocated. Chipmunks have obvious body stripes, and the Merriam Chipmunk, possibly found here (chaparral), has a tail 4-6 inches long.

MissBleu Jun 19, 2018 09:59 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

On this topic... if one has rats invading ones living space, cats are your friends.

420722 Jun 19, 2018 08:39 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Blaming cats for the destruction of wild life when WE are the ones that have done more irreversible damage to this planet than any other living species. Now that’s comedy...

Roger Jun 19, 2018 07:27 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

I'm sure none of you eat meat, or drive a car your all just perfect you don't run over little insects driving down the street or kill ants, or spiders you do seem to like trolls.

Potif Jun 19, 2018 09:38 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

I understand your sentiment. I would like to state that as a human, I did NOT have anything to do with the extinction of dinosaurs or woolly mammoths, or the saber-toothed tiger, and feel safe in saying that neither did domestic cats. And, what are referred to here as 'domestic' cats (sometimes the ones you may see don't have an owner) can be predators, and sometimes they can be prey. It's part of the circle of life.

Mas Gaviota Jun 19, 2018 06:28 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Cats should be kept inside the home. There are many wild animals that are common around here that would kill a kangaroo rat: coyote, skunk, racoon, bobcat, hawk, crow to name a few.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 04:24 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

No cats outside. For the sake of wildlife, keep cats inside.

sacjon Jun 19, 2018 02:03 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Has anyone confirmed that this little animal was killed by a cat? If not, then almost ALL comments here are off topic.

Roger Jun 19, 2018 03:18 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Humans can never do no wrong according the ones that blame everyone else.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 01:40 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

TYH77. You got it. It is definitely a pack rat. I used your link and that first photo shows the tail to be exactly like the one I found. THANK YOU. I used to see a lot more rats in my garden than in recent years. Apparently there are 22 species of pack rats (also known as "wood rats." In all my many years in Santa Barbara I have seen many rats but none with such a tail. Many thanks for the i.d.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 12:58 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Keep cats inside. Who said anything about banning cats? Protect wildlife. To do that you must keep cats away from wildlife. Please.

Potif Jun 19, 2018 09:42 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

What about the other critters that eat wildlife... Such as wildlife?

Roger Jun 19, 2018 01:19 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Since we are on this topic I think humans ought to be included because after all it's only fair Humans should be banned from eating anything because sometime before it was prepared it was alive....Also Humans should not be allowed to drive vehicles because it harms the environment Humans are destroying the Earth and without the Earth Wild Life cannot survive so humans ought to be banned to save the earth and wild life.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 01:00 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Birds have wings, if they're not fast enough.... it's called Darwinism.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 12:47 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Cats kill birds, butterflies, lizards, and anything else that moves and is smaller or less quick. Opportunistic and cunning cats. Cats are known for being stealthy. Owners of cats outside don't care about killing wildlife. Worldwide, cats have decimated whole species of animals. Cat owners are responsible for this destruction of wildlife on our planet.

Potif Jun 19, 2018 07:32 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Hmmm... Other animals are also responsible for destruction of wildlife. In Hawaii, they brought in Mongoose to take care of the rat problem. Of course, rats are nocturnal, and mongoose are not. And, mongoose also don't prefer rats, but are great at killing snakes. (There were never snakes in Hawaii. And the rats, who also are not native to Hawaii, came in on the old sailing ships). Now, the mongoose are killing the native birds by eating their eggs, also sneaking into farmer's henhouses, and eating their eggs. The rats also have done their fair share of damage to the ecology of Native Hawaiian species. My point being, that domestic cats are not solely responsible for the extinction of species of wildlife. Humans do a pretty good job themselves. Just putting up rows of houses affect the survival of many animals.

CoastWatch Jun 19, 2018 12:17 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Domestic cats kill 1000's of birds... Not many birds kill cats...

oceandrew Jun 19, 2018 07:24 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

More birds are killed by humans than by cats. More species face extinction because of humans, not cats. Humans pointing the blame at cats for killing the occasional bird or mouse is really rich.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 12:17 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Op, here. I didn't post a photo of the carcass because it is far too gruesome a sight. I could barely look at it and I'm not squeamish. I have buried quite a few tiny semi-meaty frameworks recently, thanks to cats and crows.

tagdes Jun 19, 2018 11:51 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

Definitely not a roo-rat or the 3 that you mentioned, it really matches the Jird and they seem to come in various colors, so I would second that guess.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 11:35 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

It's unfair to wildlife to let your cats outside. Don't do it.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 07:16 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Some wildlife are more than pleased to have cats outside... like coyotes. Probably mountain lions (oops... 'cats?') are happy with the idea. It actually is better for most domestic type cats, some of which are actually feral/wild, to be kept inside. They usually have a longer life span. I imagine a few go a bit 'mentally insane' from the confinement, but have known several who were afraid to go outside. Those were very happy to be inside. It can help if the owner actually plays with the inside cats to keep them happy.

horsegirl Jun 19, 2018 06:12 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

however, maybe someone can explain to me why everyone thinks it is okay to let cats roam around freely despite the clear negatives?

horsegirl Jun 19, 2018 06:07 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

a stray animal is a stray animal. responsible pet ownership is responsible pet ownership.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 06:00 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Horsegirl - Dogs and cats are different animals, with different characteristics and behavior patterns. But, I'm sure you knew that :)

horsegirl Jun 19, 2018 05:53 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

I'm not comparing to off leash dogs, I am comparing to the fact that dogs are not allowed to roam freely day in and day out, so why are cats allowed to? stray dogs will be picked up by animal control, but cats are left outside to their own devices.

horsegirl Jun 19, 2018 05:54 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

I'm not comparing to off leash dogs, I am comparing to the fact that dogs are not allowed to roam freely day in and day out, so why are cats allowed to? stray dogs will be picked up by animal control, but cats are allowed to be left outside to their own devices, to the detriment of their own length and quality of life and the lives of many small animals.

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 01:50 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

HORSEGIRL - comparing outdoor cats to off-leash dogs? Really? Come on now.

horsegirl Jun 19, 2018 01:42 PM
What Is This Small Animal?

Dogs aren’t allowed to just roam freely and wreak havoc, why do we allow cats to do so? They are also often killed by cars, other animals, etc. I read about two killed by cars just this weekend on Nextdoor and one in Ventura killed by a coyote. It’s tragic for every animal involved

a-1532262937 Jun 19, 2018 11:51 AM
What Is This Small Animal?

Should we just ban outdoor cats? Let's make it fair for everyone, right?

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