Wild Animals/duck killings

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Question
I have had 4 ducks killed in the last month. They have been killed in their pens and their insides have been eaten but have been left in the pen for me to find. Can you tell me what would kill them and not take the dead animal with them. I live near Morehead N.C.

Thank you,
Susan

Answer
Dear Susan

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

First of all, I think the predator was relatively small and couldn't carry a whole duck - that is how it could get into the pens, but why it left the ducks. Larger mammals, such as foxes and dogs will take the ducks with them (see http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/201451/what-kills-ducks-like-this).

Corrrespondents at http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/201451/what-kills-ducks-like-this say that the following animals will kill ducks: raccoon, mink, opossum, weasel and ferret.

http://www.mammalsociety.org/mammals-north-carolina gives a list of mammals found in North Carolina. It says the opossum and raccoon are abundant, the striped skunk is common, the least and long-tailed weasels are rare and the mink and spotted skunk are uncommon. The mink will kill ducks and is a possibility if you live near a stream or lake, but the culprit is possibly more likely to be a raccoon, opossum or striped skunk.   


http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/581518/opossums says that opossums will kill domestic birds.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZS-KkyiTHI&safe=active, http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/136801/raccoons-and-ducks and http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/236668/do-racoons-kill-chickens-and-ducks have information and films about raccoons. http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/skunks.asp says that raccoons will kill several ducks at a time. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080606074805AAGZ475 and http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/skunks.asp have information about skunks.

Out of the three, I supct the raccoon, but it could be either of the others or even one of the species that is relatively uncommon in North Carolina.

All the best

Jonathan

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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