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Unknown spotting

Description:

About 18 to 20 inches long. Not sure if it’s a pet or wild animal that frequent the immediate area. No Reports of missing pets although we frequently see cats outside.

Habitat:

Found right next to our house in a rural neighborhood. Typical nearby wildlife can include dears, raccoons, turkeys, owls, snakes, We often hear sounds and cries of animal violence at night.



1 species ID suggestions

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a month ago
Virginia Opossum
Didelphis virginiana Virginia opossum - Wikipedia

6 Comments

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a month ago

The skull and jawbone have separated to a right angle of 90 degrees, and we're looking down at the mandible from about 300 degrees. Those two big bits on the mandible are called the "coronoid process", and that's where muscles attach. Also, the palate (hard roof of the mouth) is exactly the same as the in the link I provided in the previous comment. I am confident enough to make a formal suggestion. I'm really enjoying this spotting, Glen. It makes me ponder and want to research. Have you got anymore like this?

Brian38
Brian38 a month ago

I agree with you Neil. Maybe its demise was connected to its deformity ( 2 lower jaws). It would be nice to know the story of why there are two lower jaws!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a month ago

Hopefully this will help ID the spotting. What interests me about your photos is one of the most minor details, and that is one of the small teeth. I can see only one, and it sits on the mandible (jaw bone) behind the large canine tooth. Perhaps it is a canine, or maybe a premolar tooth? That is a very distinctive feature, albeit a subtle one, and you see it very clearly in the following images - http://museum2.utep.edu/mammalogy/taxa/d... It's the small tooth between the canine and molars, and the diastemata (small spaces between) separates the different type of teeth. The diastemata being small also indicates the animal is carnivorous, or in this case omnivorous, whereas a large separation would indicate a herbivorous animal. I'm fairly confident your spotting is a Virginia Opossum, although it would be good if others could confirm or refute this. It doesn't look to be a very big specimen either, particularly if you say it is 20 inches long, so perhaps it is a juvenile animal. I doubt very much your spotting is a racoon or a cat.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a month ago

I think this could possibly be a Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). Detailed, close-up images of the teeth are what we need here, and I can only make out so much. Regardless, it's a really interesting spotting. I wonder what happened to cause the demise of this animal? Here's an interesting video I found. It gives a good insight as to what is considered when identifying a specimen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBqcHd9I...

Hello Glen5 and Welcome to the Project Noah community!
We hope you like the website as much as we do. There are many aspects to the site and community. The best way to get started is to read the FAQs at http://www.projectnoah.org/faq where you can find all the tips, advice and "rules" of Project Noah. You, like the rest of the community, will be able to suggest IDs for species that you know (but that have not been identified), and make useful or encouraging comments on other users' spottings (and they on yours).
There are also "missions" you can join and add spottings to. See http://www.projectnoah.org/missions . A mission you should join is the http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/2165... to chose the best wild photo of 2018,only the spottings added to that mission are eligible.Note that most missions are "local". Be sure not to add a spotting to a mission that was outside of mission boundaries or theme :) Each mission has a map you may consult showing its range. We also maintain a blog archive http://blog.projectnoah.org/ where we have posted previous articles from specialists from different geographical areas and categories of spottings, as well as wildlife "adventures".
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Please add this to the following mission: http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/8475...
This is so that our Osteology experts will get to see it and possibly identify it for you.

Murrysville, Pennsylvania, USA

Lat: 40.47, Long: -79.66

Spotted on Jun 30, 2018
Submitted on Jun 30, 2018

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