Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer World II: Chipmunks, Zorro and Bot Flies

We had a kill awhile back. Zorro walked in the door with a wounded chipmunk, yowling, and brought it to the bedroom where I was cleaning. It startled me so much to see such a large catch that I screeched and Zorro turned back to the dining room and let the chipmunk go. The little rodent began squealing and running, finally hiding under a buffet table. Unfortunately, it was so severely bitten by Zorro that John had to dispatch it to chipmunk heaven.

John had told me earlier this season about the problem that chipmunks have with bot flies. I had never heard of bot flies in New England before — until I read Summer World. Heinrich writes: "I have also seen bot flies on skinned mice and chipmunks in Maine; relative to the size of their hosts, one of these maggots would be as big as a woodchuck to us."

Bot flies do not bite. They deposit their eggs in the nostrils of caribou in the arctic. When the eggs hatch, they wander around inside the caribou's body and then settle in under the animal's skin as they grow to be adults. Then they pop out of the caribou's skin and drop to the ground so that they can pupate.


1 comment:

  1. I hate when I see the bot fly eggs on the horses legs. It takes a lot of scraping to get them off.


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