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One jam sammich and he’s anybody’s


A nature-lover has been coined the ‘The Badgerman’ after a badger sett accepted him into their community.

Huh. Secretive my ass. One jam sammich and he’s anybody’s. What made this article worth reading was this:

His most moving moment in 30 years of studying the badgers was seeing a sow bury one of her young cubs.

Gareth said: ‘It was a sight I will never forget. The baby badger had broken its leg and managed to get back to the set. A few days later other members of the badger family began digging a hole a short distance away. Then I watched the mother badger come out of the set with her dead baby in her jaws. She carried it to the hole and then the others covered it with soil.’

‘The badgers never went near that area again – it was like consecrated ground to them.’

Now, I’m not absolutely 100% sure I believe this story, but there’s no question animals sometimes have a meaningful concept of death. And not just, “ZOMG! That thing that used to be Bob smells like Friskies — let’s eat it!”

I’ve read that a cat will stop looking for a dead companion if you show him the body. And I’m sure I’ve posted this story before — one of the eeriest things I’ve ever seen was a cat, early one morning, standing in the driving rain with water drizzling off her whiskers, staring into the grass of my neighbor’s lawn. She backed off, very slowly, when I came toward her (she’s the neighborhood cat I’m sure was Charlotte’s mom and she never let me near her). She’d been standing over the dead body of a great big dead ginger tomcat. Probably hit by a car, but there was not a mark on him (including bite marks — I did wonder).

Well, it’s all very strange. Let’s drink!


Comment from Dawn
Time: July 22, 2009, 7:44 pm

Oh wow. Broke my heart right in two.

Comment from armybrat
Time: July 22, 2009, 8:23 pm

I’ve seen numerous dogs stand at the side of the road over their dead companion’s bodies. And I watched my yellow lab- the most sensative of my dogs- mourn each one of the others that passed before her. She moped about, didn’t eat, layed in front of where their crates had been placed. My cat….not so much! I’m not sure she actually partied when the lab (the last of my dogs) died, but she sure didn’t sulk around looking for her.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 22, 2009, 8:51 pm

It’s not that she didn’t understand death, armybrat. It’s that she wasn’t all that cut up about it.

Okay, last time this topic came up…who posted about watching a raccoon pull another (dead) raccoon out of the middle of the road? I know I didn’t dream that…

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: July 22, 2009, 11:18 pm

OK, now I get to make myself hated.

Thing is, we just really, really, really don’t know enough about what anything an animal does means. The story was touching, but it is equally possible that the badgers wanted the smelly/insect-attracting/potentially disease-laden object out of their den, and avoided the site afterwards because their sensitive noses allowed them to remember that it was contaminated. When we interpret animal behavior through human eyes, we are doing the equivalent of trying to fix a hardware connection problem by hitting all the components with a hammer.

That’s always assuming that the human reporter reported accurately, completely, and dispassionately. Always a big assumption.

Jeepers, we can’t even figure out what the behavior of our OWN species means–and our intra-species communication systems are reasonably good. But–interspecies communication systems (above the “me predator/you prey” level) are pretty punk, and understanding the intra system for another species? We’re workin’ on it. Workin’ hard. But we just aren’t there.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: July 22, 2009, 11:38 pm

My first 2 cats that were “mine” (not the barn cats we tamed as kids that remained outside) were Felix – Siamese male, got free from the want ads – and Gizmo – tuxie female rescue from one of my brother’s friends. They were roughly the same age, got ’em a couple weeks apart. They were great friends (slept twisted together like a pretzel), though very different.

Felix, portly, shy, wussy, never ranged far from the back door. Gizmo, tiny, fearless, great huntress, wanted to be outdoors all the time. She got run over on the main road near our house at 1 1/2 half years. My husband found her, I went nuts & he buried her in our yard. Felix was inconsolable; wailed that famous meezer cry night and day, kept looking under all the beds and furniture, always crying. I finally took her collar from the drawer where I stuck it the day we buried her and gave it to him. He carried it around for several weeks, burbling to it and rubbing his cheek on it. He finally got over it, but it was something to watch.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 23, 2009, 4:23 am

I know, Can’t Hark. That’s why I checked that ginger tom to make sure Charlotte’s mom wasn’t just snacking on him. But I think we can easily underestimate the amount of meaning animals invest in things, too.

By a stroke of luck (I had just bought a video camera) I have the moment Charlotte and Damien met on film. Charlotte is a big cat, aggressive and territorial with other cats, and Damien wasn’t quite six weeks old. Just a bit of fluff. He totally backed her down. She somehow knew he was of the household.

It didn’t surprise me that she didn’t attack him — animals (domestic animals, at least) seem to have some sense of fragile babyhood. It did surprise me that she never stood up to him in any way, even though she clearly hated him and was about twice his size once he’d all grown up.

But it completely astonished me that she never forgave me, at least for the two years until he disappeared. Wouldn’t let me pet her or give her attention, even when he wasn’t around. Hissed or even snarled at me when I tried. She had herself the most extraordinary two-year sulk.

And now he’s gone and she’s my best friend again.

I’m not surprised she hated him. I’m surprised that she remembered it and blamed me, even when he buggered off for a few days at a time.

Comment from ‘Nother Dave
Time: July 23, 2009, 10:56 am

Skunks definitely bury their dead, unless the buzzards beat them to the body. (The recent arrival Mexican buzzards don’t let anything sit like the turkey buzzards did.)

We let the Aussie know that she was not to kill the kitten so she ignored it until we would miss the kitten and have to ask the dog where it was. Then she would lead us to a sleeping kitten in the pump house or shop. They know.

Comment from gnus
Time: July 23, 2009, 11:46 am

My Winnie was like that, Sweasel. Queen of the house until the exGF brought home two kittens she’d rescued. Winnie not only never bothered the kittens, but she was highly OFFENDED, and refused to have anything to do with them, or me. I got to know her “How could you?” look very well.

From that day forth she was an outside cat, never mind that I took great pains to be sure she didn’t actually get out.

In other news, I just won 590,983 GBP. Am I gonna have to pay taxes in Jolly Olde? 😉

Comment from Gordon Brown
Time: July 23, 2009, 1:22 pm

Am I gonna have to pay taxes in Jolly Olde?

Yes, there is a prize tax you will have to pay. That will be £295,491.5 please.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 23, 2009, 1:27 pm

gnus, lottery winnings etc. in the UK are not taxable, but if you transfer the money to your place of domicile, domestic taxes will apply. The exact source of the prize and your relationship with the organisers is crucial for the purposes of UK tax liability. Consult a UK tax accountant and lawyer.

That’s over $970000 by the way.

Comment from Barack Obama
Time: July 23, 2009, 1:34 pm

There is a gift and/or prize tax here too: $487,145.66 should just about cover it.

Comment from gnus
Time: July 23, 2009, 3:56 pm

Holy cow, now there’s math to do. And lawyers. And it’s such a simple email, too. Dang!

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: July 24, 2009, 12:31 am

And it’s such a simple email

Ooooohhhh! Is that this Nigerian Princess/undifferentiated civil servant/general allround obviously trustworthy bloke who is pleased to disclose to you your unmatched and unmerited good fortune in return for your provision of some–truly unimportant and unremarkable–information as a condition of verification?

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 24, 2009, 12:58 am

Well, CHMC, I assumed so (I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek). But I was also making the point that unlike in the US, if you win a huge wad of cash in the UK, it’s not necessarily taxable.

Comment from SDN
Time: July 26, 2009, 9:04 am

OTOH, I once heard a lecture from the Deputy Coroner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (X-Files track at DragonCon a few years ago). He said that in his experience, if you die in the house alone with your dog, you’ll go from “Master” to “Meat” in about three days.

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