How to Indentify Animal Scat

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Learn how to identify animal scat or excrement and to track the animal in this instructional video.

Part of the Video Series: How to Track Animals
Promoted By Zergnet

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Video Transcript

We are here to talk about animal tracks and sign and for more information, you can check our website at walnuthilltracking.com. Here in front of us we’ve collected some wild animal sign in the form of animal scat. Scat is the refuse that the animals leave behind from their digestive system. Here we have several different species. Knowing scat is an important key to identifying different animals whether you are interested in the animals themselves, purely for the fun of it or if you are doing a wildlife inventory, you need to know scat in order to determine what animals are living there. Valerie is pointing to the scat of a snow shoe hare which has a very characteristic shape that is almost like an M&M. It is flattened on two sides and is round. Next is a predator’s scat. This is the scat of a weasel. It is impossible to determine whether this is a long tail weasel or a short tail weasel but it is a weasel who are predators. It has characteristics all of its own being very twisted and tightly woven, tapered at both ends, full of a lot of different hair and things like that. The black color comes from its being very fresh. Next is porcupine scat. Porcupine scat often times has that characteristic almost peanut shaped but it doesn’t always. It is very helpful if you are unsure about what kind of scat that you have to take scat diameters and to do that we use calipers which are very accurate. A lot more accurate than just using a tape measure. Measuring that Valerie gets diameter of about 5/16’s and the diameter of a scat is much more important than the length. Always measure the diameter. Not the length. You can see here these are often the same porcupine. Length is very variable. You may have some really long pieces, you may have some short pieces but the diameter is going to be very consistent for that animal. Next we have the moose which is a large and here these are somewhat characteristics. They are in pellets. Here we also have moose scat. This however is in a different form and that is due to the fact that the moose in this case was eating very soft succulent soft vegetation. Therefore, the scat came out in a different shape. As you can see, we are wearing latex gloves for protection. Always be very careful after you are done handling it. Throw the gloves out and make sure you sterilize your hands with some hand sterilizer. Some scats are very dangerous. For example, raccoon scat. Always be very careful when handling scat. Do not breathe it if you can help it unless you are absolutely certain what animal scat you are dealing with.

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