What is this animal organ/fetus/embryo my cat brought in?
March 1, 2013 6:46 AM   Subscribe

What is this thing my cat brought to my porch? http://i.imgur.com/cejZcGe.jpg It appears to be something between an animal fetus and organ. When I turned it over it looked the same on the other side. There were no visible eyes/mouth/features. It was larger than a quarter and there was no blood present. A possum visits regularly, and the area has many moles, birds, and raccoons.
posted by Locative to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can't identify for sure, but it's likely either a baby possum or a critter fetus of some other species.

One of my cats used to catch pregnant rabbits and squirrels and leave similar gifts on our doorstep. It was pretty horrifying.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:57 AM on March 1, 2013

Yeah, I'm going to vote for possum baby - opossums are marsupials, which among other things means their babies come out when they're still in what would be a fetal stage for placental mammals like ourselves.
posted by mskyle at 7:02 AM on March 1, 2013

Stomach of a small animal?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:05 AM on March 1, 2013

Definitely fetus -- it's self-contained. If it were an organ, there would be a hole/tube/etc somewhere, and it would be bloody.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:06 AM on March 1, 2013

Response by poster: Well it definitely looks like a fetus at the top part, the pink/translucent part, but the other half seems to be solid with no features and there were no limbs. When I looked up possum embryos I did find this (http://cache2.asset-cache.net/gc/139815443-common-brushtail-possum-pouch-embryo-single-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=33Tqe6Lb9ocao8An7HLgM468iyUL8%2BMguswrgfck9Ll2O3jsKUVqz2wCP%2F1gdxXg), which looks similiarish but has nascent eyes, mouth, etc. as well as limbs. That was what made me think it was possibly a stomach.

Could it be a mutated embryo? Why doesn't it have limbs?

Thanks for the great responses everyone.
posted by Locative at 7:09 AM on March 1, 2013

My parents' super mouser will eat every part of the mice he brings home, except the gut sack, which he conveniently leaves on the deck in front of the sliding glass door. This looks similar.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:05 AM on March 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'm voting stomach
posted by Flashman at 8:28 AM on March 1, 2013

Based on the picture I would vote for young opossum or some sort of fetus, but the absence of limbs is confusing. The easiest way to tell would be to grab some gloves and a knife and cut it open. If it is a fetus you should see organs inside. Post some pictures if you decide to dissect it.
posted by tr0ubley at 8:32 AM on March 1, 2013

I'm thirding ArgentCorvid and Flashman here. I think it's the stomach/intestine out of a rat or something, and it just happens to look like it has a head.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:46 AM on March 1, 2013

Aren't there limbs in the photo? At 12 o'clock I'm seeing a tail (complete with tail vein), and at 3 and 6 o'clock I'm seeing (underdeveloped) limbs. Head lighter colored to the left, body darker to the right. It might just be me projecting, but it looks a lot like a bigger, bruised/bloated version of the newborn mouse pups I see at work. Maybe the limbs are just less... juicy? than they would be in a living pup/fetus.

I would believe that it's some sort of animal gut, but what are those thin projections that I'm calling tail and limbs?
posted by twoporedomain at 8:49 AM on March 1, 2013

Response by poster: The object was on top of a couple dried reeds. I used one to flip it over and the other side was smooth and unmarked as well. There were no holes I could see.

I would dissect, but...I think it's been eaten.
posted by Locative at 8:52 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think I see front limbs—small and curled up by the head. I'd guess the back just hasn't really developed yet. But yes, definitely a fetus of some critter. It looks rodent-like to me.
posted by Eicats at 9:40 AM on March 1, 2013

It's most likely a stomach. I get gifted them quite often. Possum babies are a different color and have obvious limbs.
posted by fshgrl at 10:52 AM on March 1, 2013

Looks like organs. Maybe a bit of gut.
posted by Good Brain at 1:54 PM on March 1, 2013

I'm really not seeing fetus here. I'd say organ. It does look like a segment of gut or stomach.
posted by Miko at 5:34 PM on March 1, 2013

My kitty leaves something that looks a lot like that behind whenever she eats a rat. I wondered a few times whether it was an embryo, but I've actually seen her devour the rat and leave that behind. But it is smaller than what you mention, I think. (I'm not American and I don't know how big a quarter is.)
posted by lollusc at 9:07 PM on March 1, 2013

Since your kitty brought that home as a present, you have probably offended by your lack of lip-smacking gratitude. My kitties quit bring me home the choice cuts and now leave the unwanted "wobbly green bit"--spleen, or something like that. My guess yours is very early (and tender) embryo of some type, with the darker smooth 'sac' bit dried around the neck of the critter.

Next time a dissection is in order, as well as praise for the kitty.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:06 PM on March 1, 2013

It's an organ of some sort. I found a dead rat in the garage late one night and didn't want to deal with it. Woke up in the morning to find the rat entirely gone except for something that looked just like that. Why would a cat not eat a fetus? I'm sure they're just as tasty as the rest of the animal. The liver on the other hand...
posted by pwb503 at 3:18 PM on April 12, 2013

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