Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gross-out Alert!

Don't read today's post if you are:

1) Overly sensitive

2) Easily nauseated

3) A rabbit lover

Birder purists only look at birds. Birder-Naturalists are easily distracted by other things on their walks - wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, snakes - and sometimes "earthier" stuff, like pellets (puke), scat (poop), and carcasses (dead things.)

Susan Gets Native is more fascinated with dead things than anybody else I have ever been out with, so I was sorry she didn't come along on the bird walk at Higbee Beach last Sunday. As well as getting some great birds, including tons of Brown Thrashers and a very late juvenile White-eyed Vireo, we enjoyed a raccoon taking a nap in the crotch of a tree and the following rabbit. Or, should I say "ex-rabbit," presumably the remains of a Great Horned Owl's late-night snack.

Turn away now if you don't want to be disgusted.

Susan, this bun's for you.

If you can bear to, click to enlarge the photo. You can see that Bugs has no head. Brains are a good source of energy. You can also study its GI tract, including the relatively small stomach, short intestine and large cecum. Rabbits, like horses, are "hind-gut fermenters" and the cecum serves the same purpose in these species as the rumen does in a cow - a fermentation vat where good gut bacteria digest the animals' high-fiber diet and turn it into energy. This is why you should feed your rabbit like you would feed a horse - lots of hay and dark leafy greens, very small amounts of concentrates (grain). Too much high-energy grain causes horses to colic and rabbits to develop severe enteritis (inflammation of the bowel.) Since neither horses or rabbits can vomit, overeating these foods can literally be fatal.

Thus ends today's lecture. Tomorrow, a cleansing post.


bruss1510 said...

Educational, but yeeeccccchhhhh...


NCmountainwoman said...

Yes, that was totally gross! But very interesting. We have to look at all sides of nature in order to understand it.

Lynne said...



LauraHinNJ said...

Wow! A non-exotics vet who doesn't push a full pellet diet for bunnies!


I agree... Susan is kinda fascinated with dead stuff. Strange one, she is.


Mary said...

Odd...At first I thought it was the work of an owl. But now I know too much :o/

Susan Gets Native said...

K E W L ! ! ! !

Owls have gotta eat too, right?

*I love that when someone sees a dead critter, they immediately think of me. That warms my heart.
; )~