Can you identify this scat
It is difficult to make a determination without an understanding of the dimensions of the scat pile and location (e.g., close to an arroyo, near bird bath or dog bowl) as well as other information. Table 1 provides some guidelines on dimensions (Halfpenny 2000) of scat that may be useful in determining what left the scat pile. Scat is highly variable for a species and diet dependent. Felids (cats) or canids (dogs) may have segmented or constricted scat or more corded appearing scat depending on what their recent diets have been. In general, cats (bobcats, mountain lions) tend to have a long corded appearance when feeding on fresh kills and more segmented when not. Cat scat tends to be blunt ended – but not always. Dogs (foxes and coyotes) tend to have long tapered tails on their scats. Bear scat tends to have a sweet smell, varies in color, scat taper slightly or is blunt ended; hair, bones, fruits, insects, etc. may be present. Bear scat may occur in large quantities. An important factor is what is in the scat, if you see seeds, fruits, insect parts, vegetation it is not a cat as cats are devoted carnivores – bear, coyote or other omnivorous species are more likely. If nothing but hair is visible then you have to rely on other clues. Look around the perimeter of your property and look for tracks as they may help identify the depositor. Based on our picture, the scat appears to contain hair with no obvious signs of insect or plant parts. Also, there may be multiple depositions or just one with varying colors. There appear to be constrictions in the feces as well as a long tapered end. Use this information and Table 1 to see if you can figure it out or you may contact me directly at email@example.com.
Species Approx. scat Dia.(in.) Approx. Scat Length (in.)
Foxes 0.6 2
Coyote 0.6 3
Bobcat 0.8 3
Mountain Lion 1.25 4
Black bear 1 7
Raccoon 0.75 3
Table 1. Approximate diameter and length of scats from various species. Note that scat, depending on diet, may vary greatly.
Halfpenny, J.C. 2000. Scats and tracks of the Desert Southwest: a field guide to the signs of 70 wildlife species. Falcon Guides, Morris Book Publishing, Guilford, CT, USA.