The mummified remains of a dog have been found lodged in a tree, 20 years after he got trapped – and make no bones about it, this is a seriously impressive sight.
These incredible photos show how well preserved the hunting hound was when loggers, in Georgia, US, discovered him.
The animal – who has since been named Stuckie – is believed to have been chasing a raccoon when he got himself in the unfortunate predicament. Experts say he would have run into a hole at the bottom of the chestnut oak, then climbed 28 feet – 28 feet! – inside the trunk while attempting to catch his prey.
Except – bit unlucky – as the tree narrowed, Stuckie became lodged. Unable to back out and with no-one apparently aware he was missing, he starved to death.
But it is believed that tannin, an organic substance found in oak trees, helped preserve the canine by reducing moisture inside inside the trunk. Biologists say air inside would also have blown upward, causing the scent of the dead animal to be carried away, meaning insects wouldn’t have discovered the remains to feed on.
Loggers stumbled on the preserved animal when chopping down trees in 1980. Instead of sending it for pulping, they donated the find to Southern Forest World Museum and Environmental Center in Waycross, also Georgia. Experts there estimated Stuckie had been trapped since 1960.
Attention was drawn to the dog’s remains this week after an article in Newsweek.
“People always ask me, ‘How did he get in there?’ And I always say, ‘Well, he was a hound dog. Maybe he was after a raccoon,'” said Brandy Stevenson, manager at Southern Forest World. “And then they’ll say, ‘Poor old thing. I feel so sorry for him.'”
He’s not the first mummified dog to have been found in near perfect condition, of course.
Some eight million have been pulled from the Catacombs south of Cairo. Most of them were buried with their human owners who had died – because ancient Egyptians believed it was good fortune for pets to accompany their owners into the afterlife.
And in the icy remotes of Siberia, there have been rhinos, bison and mammoths – all dating back to the ice age – discovered more or less intact.
All the same, Southern Forest World are now hoping the new attention on Stuckie will improve visitor numbers. You’d be barking mad not to want to see him (sorry).