Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Polecat Paws

Collected a dead polecat (Mustela putorius) from the A39 tonight, the wild form of the domesticated ferret and the third that I have seen dead on this road in the last year but the first that I have managed to pick up. A handsome animal with it's bandit mask of black fur and its distinctive colouration. It was near a farm and a long hedgerow with evidence of rabbit warrens so perhaps the proximity of rats and rabbits, favoured food, led it onto the road.

Spent a tricky hour under the security light at the back of the house trying to take paw-prints with an ink pad with limited success and wishing I'd finished my shed and had better lighting. It feels rather appropriate to be finger printing a mammal with a bandit face-mask. I had better results with clay and managed to get some terrific impressions on rolled out slabs that I will now use to cast positive plaster tiles from and will also fire this full set of 4 paw impressions (beneath) in the kiln. I have decided that from now on I will try to collect paw impressions from all of my finds to build up a library of native animal tracks.

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