CSI: Wisconsin

I was on the phone with my mother a few weeks ago when suddenly my dad picked up the line. Since my father doesn’t typically practice the art of telecommunications, I knew something serious must have been going on for him to grab the phone.

“Jen, it’s your dad.”

“Hey, pops.”

“Hey. Next time you come home, I need you to do something.”

“Sure. What is it?”

“Your mother found some bones in a pile of owl puke and we need you to help us identify the skull.”

And here’s where I sometimes wonder if my family is not like typical families, because nothing in my dad’s statement sounded unusual to me. Not the fact that my mother can identify owl puke, nor the idea that she would dig through avian vomit to discover its hidden contents, nor the fact that my parents would save an assortment of animal bones for me to examine. Shouldn’t that seem unusual? I feel like it should.

In any case, I was thrilled at the idea of trying to recreate the crime scene, and in preparation, started studying up on the diet of the Great Horned Owl. The next time I stopped by my parents’ house, I barely got in my “hellos” before inquiring after the mystery skeleton.

It was even better than I had imagined.




My parents were pretty certain that these were the remains of an unfortunate blind mole rat, and when I saw the pictures online, it seemed a plausible theory. But as I’ve done a bit more research, it would appear that blind mole rats are only found in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

So this can only mean one of three things:

1. Blind mole rats have learned how to build crude ships, and have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Great Horned Owls can fly to Africa and back before puking up their meals.
3. This is not a blind mole rat.

So I leave it up to you, internets. We are greater than the sum of our parts, my friends, so I know that collectively we’ll be able to answer the burning question, “Hey skeleton! Is you is, or is you ain’t my blind mole rat?”

PS – If you ever want to give the gift of puke, I highly recommend this kit. It was a huge hit with my nephews a few years ago. Never before have I wanted to take back a gift as much as I did that one.

It’s so nice to be understood. More photos of owl puke treasures can be found in Brandon’s Flickr stream.

12 Responses to “CSI: Wisconsin”

  1. brandon Says:

    vole, maybe. or chupacabra.

  2. Dave2 Says:

    Okay… here is the situation… I don’t know what it is and I don’t WANT to know what it is! That is a horrifying skeleton remain… even if it’s only 1-1/2 inches long!

  3. Jenny Says:

    brandon: you’re funny. a vole. yeah, like that’s a real thing.

    dave2: and this is probably just a baby. my guess is that this gets to be about 40-50 lbs when fully grown. that’s my guess.

  4. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    It was a very tiny predator, like from that Schwarzenegger flick where Ace ‘The Body’ Ventura spit tobacco and died. Or maybe just a large rat. They have teeth similar to the noble vole, but lack the unfortunate blindness.

  5. shari Says:

    Did I miss the part where you said not to answer the question about, “Shouldn’t that seem unusual?” Because I have the answer to that. I just don’t want to blurt it out and be THAT kid, y’know, the one who answers the questions the teacher was asking rhetorically, and all the other kids just roll their eyes and then later bully that kid when the teacher’s not looking… Oh dear. I’ve shared too much, haven’t I?

    Vole. Definitely a vole. It was revealed to me in a pancake, and as we all know, such revelations are holy, or voley, or something. A vole, I say.

  6. serap Says:

    None of this is right. I can only assume your parents actually picked the bones out of the vomit and then took the trouble of cleaning them? I am going to have all kinds of nightmares tonight… vomit, skulls, voles (whatever they are) and probably more vomit. Yuck. And the “kit” you bought your nephews… why did you want to take it back? Because it’s so disgusting it should be illegal, or because your nephews had owl/vomit/skull nightmares? I just actually shuddered! Bring back Sometimes Rabbit (only joking… please don’t).

  7. jenny Says:

    sir: OMG – you’re so right – that looks just like the creepy jaw things from predator! i guess my parents should be a bit more cautious when they’re wandering out in the woods.

    shari: how does everyone know what a vole is? i don’t think i’ve ever heard of one before brandon set me straight.

    serap: other than that, mrs. lincoln, how was the play? seriously though – sorry for the nightmares. and the vomit is actually like a dry ball of fur, but you know, with a skeleton in it. the reason i wanted to take back the gift was really to keep it for myself. even now… i’m tempted to buy another one for myself!

  8. vahid Says:

    I initially thought this was part of the skeleton of the fable alien conqueror Moltron, but with the ruler in that last shot I realize that terrible jaw may have belonged to someone a bit smaller.

  9. Jenny Says:

    vahid: i could use a few moltrons right now. my head is killing me! oh wait… that’s motrin. never mind.

  10. Don Says:

    I think it was an orclet. They’re very small when they spawn, but the teeth are very sharp. I found similar bones on the ground beneath a hawk’s nest recently. I was told to watch out for the orcwife, who can be fiercely protective of their young, but so far n

  11. claire Says:

    We have moles and voles in our yard, but now I’m kinda freaked out by that jawline. Yikes.

    As for unusual/usual families, I felt right at home as soon as your dad identified himself on the phone. Whenever my dad leaves me a message, he says, “This is your father, Tom,” as if I wouldn’t know.

  12. jenny Says:

    don: it’s totally a baby orc! so… i should probably tell my parents to move, huh?

    claire: now that i know what a vole is, they’re actually pretty cute with skin and fur.

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