Prehistoric Rat Skull

rat skull

Black volcanic rock from Wild Horse Mesa in southern CO

So I’m walking up this arroyo, maybe 12 feet deep, killing time while I wait in vain for those itty-bitty cactus flowers to open, glancing down at my feet for anything cool that might have washed down from the hills—once upon a time—looking up and down the sides where the water cut through, scanning for pot shards, arrowheads, rusty pistols, magic rocks, bones, and there this thing was, poking out of the dirt. You can see how much of it was buried in the wall of the arroyo by the stain. The left cheekbone or whatever it is fell off as soon as I touched it and I didn’t retrieve it. A biodegradable relic for sure.

Now, it may not be “prehistoric.” Hell, it may not even be a rat. But it had to be five feet below the surface, and that’s pretty damn historical. I checked out rat skulls in a Google image search and have to say this fits. It’s about 40 mm long and has the same back teeth. I dug a little more into the side of the arroyo, but I couldn’t find any more bones.

Shine on, Brother Rat!

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Beth in Taos July 12, 2013, 4:26 PM

    I’ve always heard that coyotes don’t eat the heads. That’s been the case with the numerous cats belonging to my next door neighbors that coyotes have killed over the years. People just find the cat heads. (sorry for being so grisly)

    • JHF July 12, 2013, 10:53 PM

      Really? Wow. I’d collect those. Stick them under a weighted, upside-down bucket by a hill full of big red ants. In six weeks or less you’d have a collection of perfectly clean cat skulls. I’m something of a fan of cat skulls. They’re so beautiful.

      But the only time I ever saw a coyote eat a rat—and I did—he most definitely started with the head and just basically schlorped it right down. Never heard that about the cat heads.



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