miked's picture

Fossil or teeth marks?

Observed: 3rd April 2010 By: miked
iSpot team
miked’s reputation in Mammalsmiked’s reputation in Mammalsmiked’s reputation in Mammals
MG 7879

Likely a mouse eating this lump of chalk?


No identification made yet.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


tootsietim's picture

I agree that something has

I agree that something has been gnawing at this rock. It appears to show where the upper teeth have taken small bites from the upper edge and the lower teeth have scraped up the face of the chalk. I think, however, the marks are a little too large to be a mouse. Rat ??

miked's picture

remains of horse chestnut

remains of horse chestnut fruits were in the area too but the teeth marks looked too small for squirrel. any ideas why they might be eating the chalk, the whole area is very chalky so surely they would pick up enough calcium in the diet even without deliberately eating chunks of rock.

the naturalist man's picture


I have to admit I'm stumped by this one. I keep coming back to it and doing a little research but I can not figure out what is going on here. I can say it is not a fossil, the markings are too random and fresh-looking.

Nor can I fully accept they are teeth marks, the gape would be over 2 cm. If teeth marks then they are something with either very narrow incisors or multi-cusped incisors (rat or squirrel are the only two which would fit I think).

The puzzling thing is they are uniformly deep. I have a rabbit, two guinea pigs and three chinchillas, they all have 'mineral licks' which they gnaw rather than lick. I've examined the marks they leave and they are always deeper at one end as the tooth gouges, they look nothing like this. The chinchilla's marks are around 1 cm, the guinea pigs closer to 1.5 cm and the rabbit rarely leaves marks over 1.5 cm and never more than 2 cm.

Again if it were tooth marks the reason may be similar to one of the theories of why parrots and macaws visit clay licks. They are not lacking salt or calcium from their diet but require the clay/chalk in the raw form to counter the effects of certain toxins in their food. Alternatively maybe they had run out of Rennies!! They are just chalk after all (plus flavourings etc.).

Graham Banwell

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tootsietim's picture

What are deer teeth like?

From my distant memory, deer have lower inscissors but no upper ones. I assume also that their teeth are reasonably wide, probably too wide for these, I only mention it because deer have a requirement for calcium when regrowing their antlers.

Any thoughts????