Ash Landing

SOMEONE had found this mammal skull and left it on one of the display boards at Ash Landing National Trust reserve, providing an impromptu quiz. What was it?

Even though the long canines at the front are missing, it’s obvious that this isn’t a rabbit or hare, it’s too large and long anyway, and to me it isn’t as broad and powerful as I’d expect for a badger so I’m going to guess at Red Fox.

And the answer is . . .

Yes, according to Mammals of Britain, Their Tracks, Trails and Signs (Lawrence and Brown, 1967), that’s what it is.

I’ve added their labels to my photograph. Alveoli are small cavities or pits, and here in an anatomical sense, that means the bony sockets for the root of a tooth. These three holes supported one tooth, as you can see from the opposite side of the jaw.

Oh, in case it’s not clear, the two lines are intended to indicate the cranium between the two eye sockets.

The Duck that held up the Traffic

This Mallard duck, followed by a companion drake, wandered over to the bench as we waited for the return ferry. As we had no bread to share we thought that she’d lose interest but she looked around then settled on the ground at Barbara’s feet, the drake standing close by. When the ferry arrived and the ramp rattled into place she stood up again and decided that now was the time to move – holding up the disembarking traffic as she waddled back unhurriedly to the waterside with her partner.

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    1. My patience would have been somewhat strained! but the woman at the front of the queue was laughing as the pair waddled across.

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