As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
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My common European gruffalo skull


Last year when I was strolling in Depedarke Wood, I spotted something that looked especially good. Hidden deep in the dirt beside a wall there was a skull that was both wide and tall. It was unlike anything I had seen before with its terrible tusks and terrible jaws.

I dug it up to take back, placing it carefully in my rucksack. It was very heavy and took up loads of space, but coming back I had a smile on my face. I was looking forward to looking it up on skullsite.co.uk; then I could work out whether to keep it or whether to sell it on Ebay.

The skull was filthy from being being left in the soil, so I soaked in hot water and biological washing powder (remembering never to boil.)

After simmering for hours in my clever  S6 machine, the skull came out all nice and gleaming and clean. I measured it; it was 64cm long so there were only a couple of species to which it could belong. Too big for a horse, cow or buffalo, there was only one thing it could be: a gruffalo !

A gruffalo ? What's a gruffalo ? A gruffalo ! Why didn't you know ? They are bipedal mammals that are never quiet, with tusks and horns and a unusual diet.  Adults can be over six feet tall with a big black tongue and their unusual dental formula is 


I knew from looking at the teeth that an adult it must be, since all the bottom incisors were through, all three.

The European gruffalo is a European Protected species, and is also listed in Appendix IV of CITES.  I applied to Scottish Natural Heritage for permission to keep, and this official licence came through in just five weeks:

 Now I wish I had found the whole skeleton, a rearticulated gruffalo would be the pride of my collection. I'll write about it another time like I always would, but for now the skull sits on my shelf and the skull looks good !

PS. If you like gruffalo skulls, you might be interested in my haggis skull I wrote about last year.

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Ric said...

When I first read this blog my eyes were agog
At a fine piece of Photoshop, good enough to make my jaw drop.
Then I read it again, every word, every line,
And I noticed you'd been clever and written it in rhyme!
A fine April Fool, you crafty young wag!
Your humour's not affected by having broken yiur leg!

tai haku said...

Lovely specimen Jake. Having said that, looking at the horn formation it looks more like what you'd expect on an Asiatic Gruffalo (Gruffalo asiaticus ceylonensis). Given how rare Gruffalo are it might be worth checking with a few zoos to see if anyone's doing a captive breeding project and lost an animal.

Linda Knowles said...

So now I've learned, 'cause I didn't know, there IS such a thing as a Gruffalo! Well done Jake, a great April fool. :-)

Jake said...

Thanks everyone !

Psydrache said...

I bet a mouse killed it! Mice love Gruffalos.
Good photoshop job and nice rhyme, too :)

Blair Malcolm said...

LOL, you had me for a second. I thought it was a species I never heard of here in Canada. It kinda looked like some kind of wild boar by the picture. I was in for a nice surprise when I googled it. Good one!

Blair Malcolm said...

I should of read the whole article cause the 6 ft tall part would of given it away.

Jack N said...

I feel so silly, now I know,
There IS such thing as a Gruffalo!
But what was it doing, buried in the mud,
In that deep and dark wood?
Also did you know that its curves of horn,
Appear to have been savaged by a carnivorous unicorn?
I have just found a unicorn jaw with all its 20 teeth,
See you Jake, that's all from Jack Neath

Jake said...

Thanks ! Dad made the skull from photographs of a pig, a monkey and a sheep !

Jake said...

Brilliant ! Better rhymes than mine !

Haleigh said...

I've spent the last hour trying to find a google image of a real gruffalo. Your skull looked a tad photoshopped so I wanted to see what was up, only to realize that I was never going to get any result other than a children's book, plus this post was on April 1st. Good one.

Teacher Helen said...

Hi Jake, I was looking through your skull photos to use in my class at school and came across your Gruffalo skull, how wonderful! I think the children in my class will be very excited tomorrow! Thanks for your sense of humour and imagination.

Jake said...

Hope they enjoyed it !

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