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Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Secrets In The Scat

By:  Mieko Alley

This week’s Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report fills us in on the secret details of scat.  Scat shape and appearance, marking territory, evidence of diet, and are just part of the lessons of scat. So get on out there and see what scat you see while hiking.

If you’re a fan of crime dramas, you’ve probably realized that evidence into our lives and behaviors is being left everywhere we go. A curious piece of evidence recently discovered was left behind by a Neanderthal’s behind. The 50,000 year old coprolite, or fossilized feces, gives us a peek into the diets of Neanderthals. It was previously believed that Neanderthals were strict carnivores, enjoying diets high in mammoth and reindeer. But, through analysis of the coprolite, we now know that they also ate nuts, berries, and even their vegetables.

You may not have the opportunity to play CSI on a coprolite, but you can discover more about the wildlife in Santa Clarita Valley through scat. The discovery of scat along the trail not only alerts us to the presence of wildlife we may otherwise miss, but also allows for us to learn about the diet of the animal.

Fox Scat


Canine

Photo:  Fox scat
Caption: Scat from a fox with a diet high in berries.
Credit: Huntingnet

Non-domesticated canines, like foxes and coyotes, are omnivores, meaning that their scat may contain bits of berries, insect exoskeletons, and fur. The scat will be tubular and similar in size to that of a dog. Foxes and coyotes mark their territory by leaving scat at the same location, similar to how your dog may do in your yard.

 

 

 

Mountain Lion scat

 



Feline

Photo:  Mountain Lion scat
Caption: Mountain lion scat turned white from exposure. Notice the segmentation.
Credit: NPS

Felines, like mountain lions, are secretive and it is unlikely that you will see one on the trail. However, you can discover the secret lives of mountain lions and bobcats by the presence of their scat. Scat from bobcats and mountain lions will be tubular and segmented. Bits of fur and bone may be present. Felines will also use their scat to mark their territory.

 

 

Bear scatBear

Photo:  Bear scat
Caption: Scat from a bear that had been foraging on grass.
Credit: NPS

Black bears are rare in the Santa Clarita Woodlands, but you may be lucky enough to encounter a pile of bear scat. As we learned from Yogi, bears have a varied diet that includes fruit, nuts, vegetation, meat, contents of an occasional garbage can, and maybe a picnic basket or two. Scat will have a different appearance based on what the bear has been snacking on. A loose scat may not indicate a sick bear, but rather a bear that has been eating berries.

 

Mule Deer scat


Mule deer

Photo:  Mule Deer scat
Caption: Clumped scat
Credit: iNaturalist

Deer scat will be found in high quantities – as many as 50 individual pellets! The scat may be in piles of singular pellets or clumped together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find your next outdoor adventure.   

Follow the evidence to learn more about wildlife. 

 

 

 

Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Secrets In The ScatKHTS AM 1220 - Santa Clarita News - Santa Clarita Radio


Article: Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Secrets In The Scat
Source: Santa Clarita News
Author: Newsroom