Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fur Auction #2: January 15th, 2012

For those of you who read my blog, you may have seen my earlier post (Honeoye Fur Auction 12/18/2011). I was invited by Region 8 DEC Wildlife Biologist Scott Smith to come to the auction and help age and sex muskrats. I won't get into all of that again because it's quite lengthy- but I suggest reading the above blog. It's good stuff! Below are pictures of the highlights of the fur selections...

Opossum was a new species this time around. Not sure what the fur is used for, or who would wear it!

Something we learn about in class is how ill-adapted opossums are to the colder climates. If you see an opossum with frost-bit ears, nose, feet, and/or tails...you can safely assume it is over a year old. All of the opossums I got a look at were frost-bit.

Someone also brought in a whole muskrat, again- not sure why. But it was interesting to look at up close.

Muskrat hind foot. Look at those claws!!!

Mink feet! I'm not sure what happened to the full body picture of the mink...but I'm fascinated with critter paws and claws lately. I was tracking quite a bit last week, and it's interesting to see what left the prints!

Short-tailed weasel in the winter color phase. Also known as the ermine I believe...

And here is our friend the long-tailed weasel mid color change. Very interesting to see the differences in color.

And here they are side by side. QUITE the size difference. Weasels are my new fascination I think. It seems everytime I learn a little bit more about a critter, I become enthralled by them. After seeing weasel tracks and a possible otter slide and a first hand encounter with a mink (all of which are Mustelids) and THEN coming to the auction and seeing weasels...I'm hooked.

**Note: After speaking with a professor at school, he suggested that perhaps the LTW is a male, and the STW is a female. As I learned last week during my Winter Eco class, and then again at the fur auction, in Mustelids (the weasel family), the male is usually twice as large as the female. So, perhaps the large contrast in size is just an extreme of both species, and THAT's why they look so different. I was very surprised when we layed them side by side and saw the size difference.

Raccoon on the rack, and raccoon waiting to be "checked in".

Racks and racks of furs.

On the left: beaver pelt
On the right: striped skunk pelts

 And that's the best of the best! I'm very lucky to be afforded these opportunities as a student to participate in. Looking forward to upcoming adventures!

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