Fresh(-ish) calling card... but who left it?
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we came along some animal excrement while hiking the abandoned rail bed at Lake Hope during day 3 of the GBBC. When I first saw it, I assumed it was someone's pellets (coughed up indigestible matter). I didn't think it was scat because I had never seen such a long continuous strand of poop before! But then again, I've never really seen a pellet before, either, so why did I go in that direction in the first place? I dunno. Birds on the brain, I guess.
Anyway, this Science Chimp in training could not let a good nature mystery go unsolved, so I hit the ol' Google up for some information. Since I said that the material looked intestinal in shape, I figured it was more likely someone's poop rather than something an animal coughed up, so I started looking for info about scat.
After looking at various photos and reading descriptions, I'm fairly certain it is coyote scat that we're looking at here, for the following reasons:
- The presence of hair would indicate that we're dealing with a predator.
- Somewhere along the way I read that coyotes often follow well-defined paths, and this was right in the middle of the rail bed.
- Coyotes are certainly present in this region of the state.
- It could also be fox scat, but according to info found on the web (sorry, I can't find my source page now) it is most likely coyote scat based on its size (the diameter and length of fox scat is apparently smaller than that of coyote scat). The length of these pieces was surely a good 6", and it was at least 1" in diameter.
It is described as follows
SCAT SCARF (DENIM BLUE). This unique visual aid features scat drawings that are twice life size, sketched from samples found in the field. Includes: ringtail, shrew, bat, racoon, armadillo, opossum, mouse and vole, bear, rabbit and hare, prairie dog, porcupine, squirrel and chipmunk, gopher, marmot and woodchuck, beaver, muskrat, pronghorn antelope, fox, weasel, mountain lion, bobcat, mountain goat, river otter, pine marten, skunk, mink, badger, wolverine, bighorn sheep, elk, deer and moose. This wearable field guide is great for field trips, hikes, or as a conversation piece. Measures 21 inches square.Interesting... no coyote scat on that scarf. Regardless, I still think it's pretty neat. It's sold by Acorn Naturalists. I'll be requesting a catalog from these folks!
All right birdy lovers, sorry for the diversion. Tomorrow we will resume our regularly scheduled program with GBBC day 4!