What animal do I have in my back yard. I live in a mountainous area in silver city NM. My back yard is fenced in but last night my small dog was going nuts. She has a small doggy door with two flaps. I inspected this morning and found two scats on the small rock wall just outside my back door. I’ve enclosed a couple of photos.
Grant County New Mexico
The habitat in which you live can provide important information to narrow the possibilities on identification of scat. Living near permanent water sources, irrigation ditches, etc. influence the species that may pass through or reside near your home. Common species that visit backyards at night are cats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and skunks. Felids (cats) are carnivores and presence of seeds in the pictures indicate an omnivore. It does not appear to be skunk scat. Although difficult to determine in the picture, the amount of scat seems to little to be a coyote. I would check around for tracks that may help you identify the depositor. While I cannot provide a definitive answer I will venture it is a raccoon or fox. All of these species are primarily crepuscular (active at dawn/dusk) or nocturnal. If you keep your dog in at night it will prevent unwanted encounters with such animals. Also, consider securing your dog door at night so that you do not have a unwanted visitor coming into your home as you sleep.
Raccoon – usually 2-3 inches total length by about ½ inches; they usually defecate in the same elevated location called a latrine. Please visit the website for information on raccoon latrine sites: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/baylisascaris/resources/raccoonlatrines.pdf.
Fox – size is highly variable depending on species and diet, may include vegetation in their diets when preferred prey are scarce. Foxes also defecate to mark territory and may use a wall as a visible location.