Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mushroom Massacre

The masses of fungi brought on by the excessively rainy summer have produced some interesting encounters this year. Despite the fact that the cold nights have frozen the fungi several times, there are still many species looking fresh and alive. It was surprising to find a mass of parts that looked like the remains of a mushroom explosion.

Little pieces of fungus were scattered all over. The larger chunks displayed distinct bite marks.

This is the only whole specimen I found and it’s been moved. The base of the stem is resting on top of the leaves and it’s only by chance that the mushroom is in an upright position.

Closer examination shows that there’s been some nibbling around the edges of the cap.

The amount of scattered debris made me wonder how tasty this fungus actually was. If it was really good to eat, wouldn’t the culprit have eaten everything instead of just tearing it to pieces? I kept looking for clues of what animal was responsible for this mess.

Judging by this piece of fungus lodged about four feet up a tree, I would guess squirrels to be cause of the mushroom massacre. I’ve seen them eating different types of fungi, but they usually take one to a safe perch before dining. Maybe this squirrel carried a bit of the berserker gene.


  1. They can be so pretty, can't they! Image #4 is especially lovely.

  2. Perhaps the 'shrooms were dropped from higher up.

  3. Hi Lois. Image 4 is kind of like me; a little ragged around the edges.

    You're probably right Ted. The nearest suitable branch was about 40 feet up, but if the squirrel kept going back to the same spot, the dispersal pattern would look like what I found.