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Beech Martin/Common Genet/Wild Cat - identity query

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Offline aspen

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« on: May 04, 2008, 13:05 PM »
I live in the mountains at 1300m above Lanjarón, in southern Spain.   One of our lone chickens was found decapitated in the morning.   The body was not mauled or eaten and the head was gone.  The following night I smelt a strong scent and similarly last night all around the chicken house and yard.   The yard is surrounded by a 2m high fence so presumably the animal is a climber.  Looking in my Collins Mammals of Britain and Europe, the only animals I could find that live in this area are the Beech Martin, Common Genet and Wild Cat, nothing in the descriptions suggested that they would only eat the head.   However, the locals say that there is an animal here that only sucks the blood of their prey, and indeed this would be born out by another experience we had, when we found 12 of our baby rabbits killed but not eaten in our warren.  It did not attack any of the adults, suggesting that it might be quite small.
Has anyone got any ideas?
Aspen
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 21:29 PM by Clive »
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 21:48 PM »
Hi Aspen, Welcome to :sign:

I wonder if your predator may be a bit smaller than the three large mammals you name. It may be something like a polecat which should be around your area and failing that I wonder if you have any escaped mink...

If the smell was "musky" then we can rule out the wild cat

If you are noticing the scenting being done in the same place and also scats in noticeable places like on top or rocks then maybe genet... Here's a good id page
http://www.sierradebaza.org/Fichas_fauna/04_10_gineta/gineta.htm

You can see more info about mustelids at the same website
http://www.sierradebaza.org/Fichas_fauna/fichas_fauna_general.htm#mamiferos

I am very interested in the story the locals have to say about a creature that just sucks the blood out of it's prey... Could you maybe find out a bit more about this for us? It sounds like an urban myth but I guess it has it base in some occurrence at some time in the past...Fascinating!

Clive

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Offline nick

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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 22:23 PM »
I like the story too - perhaps based on the habit of many predators of killing cornered prey in a frenzy - so it might look that they've had their blood sucked
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Offline elperronegro

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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 14:53 PM »
Hi Aspen and welcome to the forum. As you know, we live just a little below your place. Cant help you with this query though, sorry!
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Offline aspen

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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2008, 14:20 PM »
A while back I asked for help in identifying a feral visitor who had decapitated one of our chickens.  We now have a positive identification - a western polecat!   Some visitors saw it scitter across the grapevine over the balcony, and our volunteer heard it screaming in the night when the dogs decided to chase it.   The latter is something that apparently the polecat will do to intimidate attackers.

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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 08:49 AM »
Greetings Aspen,
Now that you know something of its movements, looking forward to seeing close-ups, or failing that, of it scittering.
Regs.,
Technopat

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Not bad for a Newbie iberianatureforumer - got your first jargoon in only your second posting  :clapping:

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http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Clive

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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 16:37 PM »
Thanks for letting us know the Identification Aspen, I have heard Polecats scream... Its quite loud and I think they only do it when they are backed into a corner...

I know you lost your chickens but what a great creature to have around the place.... Looks like you will have to reinforce the chicken pen... :)

Clive
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