The Natural Stuff Collection

Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections

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The carcass of a sika hind lays on a heathland by a road. I found her as fresh road-kill. I moved her about twenty yards from the road and decided to put a trigger camera in front of her mainly for my large cat studies but also to see other scavengers feeding from it. The next day the carcass had already been visited by a carnivore and very cleanly opened up (see big cat diaries). The rumen has been partly removed along with its contents, the chewed up grass.

Vegetarians have large stomachs and deer ruminate, they chew partly digested food to release further more nutrients. It is not a very efficient way of eating as they need to eat a lot. The cat that eat one haunch, part of the gut and ribs and skin with belly will not need to do that as this food is highly protein rich and will sustain the animal for a long time. Wild animals such as deer have very little fat. They are constantly active and the food they eat gets converted into lean protein.