"It was a ferret badger, which is the smallest of the badger species," said Dr. Hans Krasnal of Mass General. "But you still wouldn't want one in there if you could help it."Krasnal says that badger infestations were actually quite common in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the animals were a major staple in the diets of Native Americans and colonists.
"It's much more rare today, but certainly not unheard of," Dr. Krasnal added, guessing that Casey may have picked up his badger while traveling abroad in Ireland in the mid-'90s, possibly during a particularly intense bender.
"You usually have to be pretty tanked for the little bugger to get in there without you noticing," said Dr. Krasnal.
Voice experts say the badger probably goes a long way toward explaining Casey's vocals on Dropkick Murphys songs like "I'm Shipping Up To Boston." Critic James Tate of absolutepunk.com described Casey's vocal style, in a review of 2005's The Warrior's Code, as "sounding as if he's got a live badger down there."
"I meant it as a compliment at the time," said Tate this week when contacted at Boston magazine, where he is now a home and garden columnist. "Who knew I was being so literal?"
Doctors have said that Casey is expected to make a full recovery, although his voice will likely never be the same. Casey's vocal coach, Mel Kulick of the Berklee College of Music, says some initial voice therapy sessions indicate Casey now sounds like a cross between Josh Groban and Barry Manilow.
"And a little bit of Enya ... I definitely hear Enya in there," said Kulick.