kateamelia82's picture

Any ideas?

Observed: 27th December 2011 By: kateamelia82
What is this corpse?
Species interactions

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nightfly's picture

Its a good one, the foreleg

Its a good one, the foreleg looks very long in relation to the body but I think the entire abdominal region rear of the ribcage is empty and is collapsed, possibly due to scavangers taking the soft organs first. My first guess is sheep/lamb with wool gone? but only a guess. Upper foreleg very rotund!

The lack of abdominal structure and girth makes it an unfamiliar shaped beast, lack of face doesnt help much either......


Duxbury Rambler's picture

I would agree with nightfly -

I would agree with nightfly - sheep that has been scavenged and is also blown.

nightfly's picture

Hi Duxbury Rambler, Yeah with

Hi Duxbury Rambler,
Yeah with what we can see sheep or big lamb anyhow (is it too early for a 'big lamb'?) is about as good a suggestion as I can make. But its a somewhat confusing corpse. There isnt much left rear of ribcage structure leaving the overall shape quite strange.


Fenwickfield's picture

not sheep

the wool cannot disappear on a sheep when a sheep dies the wool stay's on until the corpse in eaten or rotten,there wood be wool around .The other thing that worries me is that if it is a domestic farm animal then it would have been removed as it is illegal to leave dead stock lying in the open.


Syrphus's picture

The location is shown as on

The location is shown as on the shore, and it is not unusual to find wool-less sheep (and other) carcases in this state washed up on beaches.



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nightfly's picture

I take your point

I take your point Fenwickfield re sheep carcasses usually always retaining the wool the entire duration of decomposition, but I just wonder is it always the case? Can sheep skin not 'slip' and shed its outer most layer where the wool is fixed in some cases/circumstances? You could well be right but I think I may have seen it before, ie wool-less carcasses?

Domestic farm animals are, as Im sure you are very aware, often found on the shore as a result of being washed down rivers or streams and the land owner in question has no idea the animal is dead or where it went to, but again, watercourses are probably used as disposal systems for carcasses which is without doubt totally illegal, and not at all nice!

Its not a readily identifiable corpse, a bit weird. If not for the hooves I'd have said dog!


Fenwickfield's picture

point taken

I agree this may happen as I have seen dead ones in stream as they can get stuck and there wool get's to heavy for them to get out,plus the odd dodgy farmer disposing of one in this was but I still don't think it look's like a sheep,I would have said Calf it is a shame there are no measurements of it.Maybe it will remain a mystery.


nightfly's picture

Yes measurements would be

Yes measurements would be crucial. The rotundness of the upper foreleg, the almost black and white areas of colouration(only small areas of black/dark) made me think of a lamb, have seen hundreds of dead lambs on beaches, but they wont be appearing on my local beaches in their annual profusion for a good few weeks yet.

Could be calf too, measurements and more images would be required,



pirayaguara's picture

Could it be the legendary

Could it be the legendary cupacabra?

jimmymac2's picture


Chupacabras are from south, central and southern north america and they have claws, this one has hooves.

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kateamelia82's picture

Thanks, the corpse found on

Thanks, the corpse found on the beach was large. It was about the same size as the large alsatian cross collie we were walking at the time.

I am not scientifically minded so did not think to take exact measurements. It was just a very weird spot whilst out walking and a friend told me about this website.

the naturalist man's picture


Oh, I love these challenges!

First, the naming system above has let me down; I put domestic cattle in and it changed it to park cattle which is something quite different.

The first thing I do in such photos as these is look for anything recogniseable, in this case the only thing is the hoof - bottom left.

We can obviously narrow things down to it being a hooved animal, deer or domestic livestock. We can narrow it down even more because it is two toed so we have deer, sheep, pig, cow or goat.

Next I looked at the shape and that made identification easier. Note how broad the two toes are and how rounded at the end, I think it can only be a cow all the others have narrow, pointed toes. Finally, at the size of a large dog it must be a calf. I would hazard to go further, as cows kept outside are unlikely to have calves at this time of year (especially in South Wales, I come from South Wales farming, and mining, stock) this is likely to have been born in a shippon if so it must have been deliberately dumped.

In addition, as has been mentioned, the legs are long supporting the identification of calf, sheep legs are, proportionally, much shorter.

Graham Banwell

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