Postmortem predation creates injuries that arouse suspicions of homicide (35,36,48,85-89). Animal activity alters antemortem injuries (36). The typical case is an individual living alone who dies of natural causes (36,89); a free-roaming house pet (dog or cat) is trapped inside the house, and its usual food is unavailable. A pet can also be motivated by other reasons when food is present (85). A frantic pet may start to lick or nudge an unconscious owner and can become frantic, biting the body (85,89). The confined space of a dwelling can also lead to aggressive behavior toward the owner (89). The postmortem interval for predation is estimated to be less than 1 d (88). One case report, involving a dog, indicated predation within 45 min (89).
Other mammals (e.g., rodents) can gnaw on the body (85,90,91). Rodent excrement or fur at the scene is a clue to the nature of the injuries (85,87). Rodent activity
occurs indoors in low socioeconomic settings and outdoors among homeless people (87). Outdoors, various animals can carry away bones (36,47).
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