Today’s Concord Monitor has a great piece in The Forum section recently about “shed hunters” – a term that refers to people who hunt for antlers that have been shed in the woods, as compared to people who try to find their garden shed in the dark. Who knew? Not me.
It’s really interesting, with tidbits like this:
Horns are made of layers of keratin – the same material as fingernails – surrounding live bone, and continue growing throughout an animal’s life. Horns are found on some cattle, goats and other animals. Antlers are bone. Each spring, they grow from the “pedicles” on the animal’s head, usually growing larger each year, thus a bigger rack indicates a more mature animal. In eight to 12 months they fall off, and after a brief resting period, the process begins again.
Antlers are the fastest growing mammalian bones: On a healthy white-tailed deer, they can grow as much as half an inch per day.
The whole thing is worth a look – check it out here.
As a side note, this fascinating piece is an offshoot of the delightful fact that the presidential primary is over. A week ago, there wouldn’t have been room in the section for it amid all the politics commentary. Hooray!