There is something in my garden, and it is eating

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Roma/Cherry tomato hybrid

This is the last remaining ripe tomato on my plant this morning. Yesterday: approximately 10 ripe and ripening tomatoes. Today: 1.

Everything else is green.

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Roma/Cherry tomato hybrid

This one grows with the chickory. It really shouldn’t have been in that planter; I was too lazy to relocate it in time.

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Cherry tomato

These plants are volunteers: they came up after I harvested compost from the bin, about a year after I threw in a failed crop grown from a batch of commercially-sourced seedlings which succumbed fairly quickly to a fungus disease.

The culprit must be one of these winged demons otherwise known as Noisy Miners (Manorina melanocephala):

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Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)

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Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)

because they left evidence on the vine: feathers.

At least nothing has tried to sample my pineapple:

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Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

Do not proceed beyond this point if you don’t want to see dead things.

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Today’s malodorous lawn surprise comes in two parts:  A cat has turned my garden into a latrine. Yes. And it ate a big rat last night. How do I know? Why, there’s a complete hind leg and a pile of entrails on the lawn, of course. Yucko.

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Complete leg of rat

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Rat entrails with possible inclusion of intestinal worm

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The whole thing

Kitty (or whatever predator it was) did not emerge from this epic fight unscathed:

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Claw

This claw (not including the tissue attached to it) is slightly larger than the dead rat’s foot. It looks as if the animal lost an entire digit, and there’s something that looks like a detached bone fragment as well. Could a third, larger predator have been involved?

Oh yeah, the ants in the photo? They are eating too.

14 January 2013 update:

Something’s come in overnight and removed/eaten the leg.

The clawtip in the picture above is 10mm long.

There’s another piece of tissue on the lawn that appears to be from a cheek: coarse vibrassae are sticking out of it. I really hope it doesn’t mean there’s a fox in the area, because if this is the case, the rabbit can never be allowed to play outside without supervision. The sky is too overcast for a photo; I’ll see if the light is any better this afternoon.

16 January 2013 update:

Well, I still don’t know what this bit came from. The colouring suggests that it could come from the owner of the leg, but the size does not seem proportionate.

rat04

Date: 13 January 2013
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens 1: Pentax smc DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF]
Ambient light only.
Conditions: Overcast
Hand-held only.
Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.

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