Since then, the body has been moved three times, and predation has begun. Of the predators so far, two were expected, one animal I thought would be a predator doesn't seem to be interested, and one other predator has turned up which was a BIG surprise !
I was really surprised it took four weeks to get a fox finding the body. But then I remembered that this wood is surrounded on three sides by sheep farms, so foxes would be driven out the area, snared or shot.
It wasn't until the 3rd January that I got footage of a fox finding the body. It came at 9.34am, sniffed around it, then came back again about midday for another sniff. It came back at 5am two days later for another sniff, then the following evening it dragged it by the back leg out from under the tree branch. It came back in the middle of the night to start eating it.
I have seen a lot of predated roe deer, and foxes usually start under the ribcage, and pull out the organs from there. This fox has just eaten around the right femur (top of the right leg) and you can see in the video he has eaten it down to the bone. Then on the 9th January he turned the body over so the right side was against the ground, then he came back later to chew the left femur, which is the position it is in at the moment.
I was very surprised the fox hasn't been back more regularly, because the deer body is a large food source waiting to be eaten.
The pine marten
And the surprise predator...
This was a shocker. I didn't expect this, but you might, if you had been watching the carcass camera on BBC Winterwatch this week.
The first time the robin visited, I thought it was maybe just taking some pooled water from the body. But it has been back loads of times - 70 videos of it in four days ! - and it'sdefinitely eating the meat. A cute, sweet garden bird ripping out flesh from a rotting body ? I was quite weird. But after doing some research, I found that robins can be carnivorous, and they can even eat each other if they are hungry enough.
I have also seen other garden birds there too, like great tits and even a goldcrest, but none of those seem interested in the body.
I'm keeping my trail camera on the body for now to see what else turns up, and I'll let you know if there are any more developments !
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