Author Topic: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)  (Read 67891 times)

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Offline madrona

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Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« on: September 15, 2010, 09:59:18 PM »
Some of us get excited about discovering signs of wild creatures when we are in their territories.  Their spoor can be something like the scratches on a tree trunk left by bears, or pellets that have been cast by an owl or an eagle, but their scat can reveal so much.  What kind of animal how recently it was there its diet and health, etc.  There are some people who will have lots of descriptions and illustrations for this thread!
   Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to
      rather than what we are separate from. - Terry Tempest Williams

Offline madrona

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 08:10:04 PM »
When my husband went out on an eagerly anticipated mushroom 'hunting' expedition the other day See Here I thought the most I had to worry about was that he might get stuck in the mud, or that, even worse, he might bring home some poisonous mushrooms.  But it was not very wet, just damp enough for some easily identifiable varieties of mushrooms like chanterelles, so he was in no danger.

... Or so I thought...  It wasn't until much later that day, after he arrived home unscathed, that he showed me what he felt was a great 'find'.  It was a piece of scat from a huge pile that a bear had left.   :eceek  The piece shown here is about 3 inches long, and at least 2 inches in diameter.  From what I've read about bear scat, that would indicate a very large bear!



I was surprised that it wasn't darker in colour, as bears spend the late summer around here eating blackberries, which gives their scat a very dark colour.  I guess the fact that this bear frequented the woods its scat shows that it likely ate other berries and nuts maybe.  Huckleberries have been suggested. 

I think when my husband told me that the scat was 'old' he meant that it was not steaming and recently deposited - probably to relieve my anxiety and spare my feelings.   :ecrolleyes  I think it looked pretty fresh, and was likely deposited fairly recently.

If anyone can help tell me more about the bear that left this scat, I would love to read what you think here, in this thread.   :eclove



   Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to
      rather than what we are separate from. - Terry Tempest Williams

Offline Rajame

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2010, 08:18:34 PM »
Madrona,

I did my level best to avoid seeing that picture. Now that you have engaged my mind, my best scientific imput is this.....

A bear does scat in the woods.  :bow

And, no, that is not original!  :eclol

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Offline madrona

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2010, 08:20:07 PM »
The River Otters (Lutra canadensis) that live in our area (central Vancouver Island) leave behind some pretty strong-smelling scat.  I have written about the Otters HERE and have posted videos of them playing, grooming and marking their territory.  On one video an otter can clearly be seen depositing some scat, and checking that previous 'dumps' are still where deposited.   :really

Here are a couple of close-ups of otter scat.  It is just as well that you cannot smell it as it has a very strong, unpleasant odour of fish.  Any dog owner around here knows that smell, and to stop your dog rolling in it can sometimes be a challenge!  :mgritted



In the scat closeup below, you can see the remnants of fish bones:

   Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to
      rather than what we are separate from. - Terry Tempest Williams

Offline madrona

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2010, 08:21:19 PM »
Oh poor Rajame!  Sorry about that - maybe let Mr. Raj have a look - somehow I don't think he'd be too squeamish.   :eclol
   Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to
      rather than what we are separate from. - Terry Tempest Williams

Offline Rajame

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 09:26:13 PM »
Oh you mean my hubby? The one that has petrified Dinosaur poop book ends and thinks they are "cool?"

Do you want to know what they look like? Ever seen Jurassic Park?

Yea, you all have your hobbies.... I am staying with mine!!  :sigh

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Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 09:35:22 PM »
This definitely has the potential to be a...um...unique (yes, that's it, unique) thread!   :ecsmile
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Offline gzebear

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 07:38:32 AM »
how exciting! really! love the photos ... looks like the bear might have been feasting on cranberries  :nod2 

and the otter scat is surprising dark, looks almost black ...

I look forward to more photos and more info. Maybe I can track down something of interest to share ...

Thanks, Madrona and sorry, Rajame - especially about the bookends   :nope

Offline Laurad

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2010, 12:02:31 PM »
What a great topic! Madrona - I thought I saw a matchstick in the bear scat  :eceek

I recently discovered what I think must be fox scat deposited very inconsiderately right next to my fish pond and I live in a busy city (London).
Laura, Wimbledon, London UK - HEG

Offline madrona

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2010, 12:08:25 PM »
Several people have said that they think there's a matchstick there, Laurad.  I think it actually is a fir needle - but at first glance I was also convinced that bear had been smoking!

Oh do get some pics of the fox scat.  It would be interesting to see whether anyone can tell us what it might have been eating.  (Hopefully not goldfish).   :sad
   Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to
      rather than what we are separate from. - Terry Tempest Williams

Offline madrona

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2010, 12:26:47 PM »
When taking pics of the otter scat, I was momentarily confused by this, close by and close to shore level on a little cement platform just a few steps above the rocks - where we often find otter scat:



I am squeamish, and asked Mr. Madrona to take a closer look.  He did!  And determined that the lighter coloured pieces were grape skins.    :mgritted  That means that the mess of grapes under our vines was not made by the birds, who are usually not that messy!  The raccoons have also been sampling them - or at least one raccoon has.  And not that recently.  Looks like we might not get to sample any of our grapes again this year.   (By the way, I insisted that Mr. Mad not touch the scat without wearing gloves - raccoon scat can be hazardous to handle - in fact, all scat should only be handled when gloved!)

Then I looked around a little more and saw some much fresher looking scat:



Does this look like it was just one raccoon - or is this the family's latrine?   :mconfused  (Raj - cover your eyes - I don't think this will be something you wanted to see either).

This site compared raccoon scat and fox scat, Laurad.  And has links to other animal scat.

   Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to
      rather than what we are separate from. - Terry Tempest Williams

Offline basenjimom

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 01:28:02 PM »
Anyone else dying to see a picture of the dinosaur scat book ends?  Come on Raj!!  The ultimate scat...prehistoric poop!   :biggrin3

Offline Rajame

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 01:33:16 PM »
Ack, save us!!!  :heart
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Offline rheawalters

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 01:33:42 PM »
What has come over me?  :puzzled2 I do want to see dinosaur poop bookends. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore Toto.

Offline gzebear

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Re: Scat Facts! (Learning more from what they leave behind)
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2010, 02:58:52 PM »
pleeeeease Rajame, can we see the dino poop?