Death on a Gravel Road
During a drive to toss corn for partridges and pheasants this afternoon, I noticed a dark shape moving back and forth on a gravel road. I was not certain what it was so I approached slowly to watch it. After moving closer I recognized the shape was a small rodent of some sort that appeared to be in distress. The rodent was walking in circles and back and forth for no reason I could discern.
Not knowing what was going on, I parked my truck, grabbed my camera, and watched the little mammal. Its circles continued until it began to dig down into shallow snow along the edge of the road. When I moved around for a better view, the animal was back on the road. Once there, the animal rolled on its back and side for a half-second or so, opened its pink mouth wide, then assumed another position in front of me. The rodent then moved no more other than for its tail to go straight up into the air. Then the little mammal was still – its life was over.
Why this animal died in front of me I will never know. It was far from any farmsteads, so poisoning is unlikely. I will not know the cause of death.
Interestingly, I was not even sure what I was looking at until I was home and at my computer. The unexpected death scene that I witnessed in a snow storm was the end of life for a vole. Ironically I had no pictures of voles in my files or database. Now I do, but they are not the pictures I was hoping for.