You have probably at least once in your lifetime undeliberately stepped on excrement before, and have felt that awful feeling for having stepped on it, but there is so much more than the smelly and disgusting smell. As a group for ScatPack our testable question is, “In what location forest trail or trails near water will there be larger amount of scat found and what will be in the scat samples?”.

My individual research project is focusing on how to identify coyote scat amongst others. Coyotes have been seen at the Elkhorn Slough hence easier to find. According to Elkhorn Slough,  “coyotes–live in the slough’s upland areas” (Campbell 39). Five finger trail was an ideal trail that we made our main to focus on. In this essay it will be discussed how to identify scat via the appearance, inside contents, and based on their diet making a prediction whether it is coyote scat or not.

By taking a close look at scat it is with certainty possible to distinguish what mammal left it behind. In accordance to the website Identifying Brown or Black Droppings coyote scat for the most part are several inches long. In the winter scat will be full of animal hair as during the winter time there is not much fruit availability so coyotes resort to eating rodents. Another way to strategically find coyote scat is that they do their business along trails. By doing this they strategically mark their territory very much like dogs do. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife coyote scat in diameter is usually less than one inch in diameter. Which may have a taper to a point at one end.

 Their appearance appears to be smoother and shinier in appearance. The contents in the scat may consist of hair and small bone fragments from rodents.                                                            As stated by the Coyote Diet and feeding habits, coyotes are very opportunists, both as hunters and scavengers. They eat almost anything small that is within their reach that they can  get a hold of.

To list a few: rabbits, lizards, birds, frogs, mice, gophers squirrels. During the summer they most likely eat fruits, berries, and grass as there is more availability. Their hunting method is to hunt in pairs of coyotes or family groups to pursue their prey. Coyotes eat wild species, including just about anything like garbage, pet food,  crops, and pets. For the most part coyotes will kill when they consider an individual to be an intruder like a fox. Coyotes are also very protective of their young and will attack to whomever gets too close to their pups.

Their hunting activity takes place at night. However, hungry coyotes will hunt during daylight hours, and may be seen following farms. All in all, based on these resources identifying scat can be very resourceful. Anywhere a coyote lives their diet is very much similar. In the website, Coyote lives in Maine coyotes diet is prone to change with the availability of food. During the spring and summer they eat rodents and insects like mentioned in the coyote diet and feeding habits website. Unlike in the summer and fall, their diet is exclusively berries such as blueberries, and raspberries. Coyotes diets remain diverse all year, depending on the weather, climate change, land changes due to human intervention and availability of their prey.

All this said analyzing scat can help us determine what animal has been in the area, what kind of diet they eat even the health of the animal. Dissecting scat is like a treasure hunt, an adventure in itself to see what will be found. If you have the necessary equipment, try it one day!

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