Ok, we know this is weird, but knowing this not-so-fun fact can save an animal’s life!
If you ever see a wild animal and it has what appear to be grains of rice stuck on its body, that’s a do-not-pass-go, do-not-collect-$200 emergency in need of a rehabilitator.
Get ready for some nightmare fuel: those rice-like grains are actually fly eggs, and they’re a sign that an animal is very close to death. Eggs may be laid inside an open wound, in the animal’s mouth or rectum, in the critter’s eyes, or sometimes simply on their flesh. Flies don’t only lay their eggs on dead flesh, but may also choose an animal because it is weak or dirty due to being sick orphan. When they hatch, the maggots quickly start consuming the animal, and it’s a particularly horrific way to pass.
Some people ignore fly eggs when they see them, either because they don’t know what they are or because they believe maggots will “clean” a wound. While so-called maggot therapy has been used in clinical environments to debride injuries in humans, the grim reality is that maggots can and do kill animals rather than just benignly cleaning them up.
If you find a critter with rice-like grains on its body, please immediately help if it’s safe for you to do so. Put the animal somewhere dark, warm, and quiet and contact a rehabilitator for further assistance.