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Animal mystery


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In part of our house there are noises in the roof space. On the ground below where we hear these noises we have started to find strange things. First of all apples - large ones, clearly from our trees (which are 50 metres away), which appeared then disappeared. We working on the idea of a vegetarian living under our roof but what could be small enough to get through a small space but large enough to carry an apple?

This morning the mystery deepened considerably when we found a huge lump of white fat on the ground - must have weighed at least half a kilo - like a jumbo sized block of lard.

What is it? We just cannot thing of anything that fits the bill. Any suggestions very welcome.


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I wonder, just wonder if this could be the elusive Lagarde, much diminished unfortunately due to modern farming. Something like a very large ferret but with a bigger mouth and appetite, known for stealing any form of food. They can, nose to tail tip be up to three feet long but thanks to a very odd bone structure, a bit like mice I think, can squeeze through the tiniest openings.

The old French peasants were terrified of the things and would sometimes abandon a house if they thought one was living in the roof - hence the sight of empty, ruined houses in rural areas.

The Romans were also not keen on them and tried to hunt them, without much success.

Put down some flour and see if you get footprints with quite long claws and a slight webbing.

They are harmless unless really cornered; there are stories of them being seen cuddled up in front of the fire in really bitter weather, but that is doubtful.

Good luck with the hune.

PS try leaving a piece of bacon round; they love that.
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Could it be a pine martin? It's a larger member of the weasel family. We had one in our roof a few years back - sounded a bit like a sheep with clogs on. We returned from a lengthy absence once to find that it had got through the ceiling into the house, jumped all over the beds and left poo on our duvet. We never saw it but identified it by the poo, which was full of bits of acorn and other nuts, squirrel fur and feathers, and had a sort of spiral quality to it. Very distinctive.

In the end it disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived.

This is not une blague, by the way!
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There are certainly fouines around here but to get into the roof space it would have to climb a vertical wall and get through a tiny hole. Also, I doubt very much if a fouine would be interested in apples.

It could be that we are putting two and two together to make five. The noise in the roof may just be a loir and the objects left outside on the ground nothing to do with the noise. So what then would leave this stuff? The fat is the biggest mystery. We are very isolated, the nearest place this might conceivably have come from is a kilometre away.


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[quote user="bixy"]Also, I doubt very much if a fouine would be interested in apples. [/quote]

Well, yeah - he/she would/might, Patrick.  Stone (aka Beech) Martens aka Fouines, Martes foina, are omnivores rather than strict carnivores - in fact, it's one of the species' ecologial separators from Pine Martens.

Dunno about the origin of the lump of fat, mind ...  [:)]


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