Top Photo: Can you identify the animal this skeletal foot was part of? As seen here it’s about 40mm in length.

This foot was found on the path in Explore the Wild. If you look closely you can see attached fur, which makes this a mammal.

Small mammal foot.

It’s small, as the measurement above indicates, but there’s one other characteristic visible in the photo which is shared with much larger members of its family of animals. Look at the claws. They’re retractable. All but a handful of members of the Felidae family (cats) have retractable claws.

The claws extend when necessary for special purposes, such as grabbing and holding prey, climbing, and locomotive traction. The five cheetah species have semi-retractable claws which are similar to canine (dogs, wolves…) feet whose claws are not retractable and whose feet are longer than they are wide. The clawed feet, among other cheetah features, allow cheetahs to chase down and secure fast moving, zig-zagging prey.

This specimen was found here at the museum so it’s unlikely to be anything other than Felis domesticus, the house cat, or Lynx rufus, a bobcat. It is, though, too small to be a bobcat.

How this cat met its demise I can’t say, coyote, fox, hawk, owl, disease, a guess will have to do. Any of the former is possible.

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