Wild Animals/animal scat

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Question
I live in Upstate NY in a rural area. My mother and I have found 4 piles of leaves around my cabin. One pile I found yesterday was in front of my garage. It appears the animal raked the leaves into a pile to cover its scat. You can see claw marks in the dirt and there is a significant pile of dried leaves and sticks. The scat is tubular, soft formed and yellow-green in color, Did not really see seeds or other matter in the stool. Thank you for your reply.

Answer
Dear Janice

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

http://icwdm.org/inspection/scat1.asp mentions large and small droppings can be large or small. As you mentioned the claw marks, I am making the assumption that the droppings are large, so the animal was probably a member of the dog or cat family. As cats tend to leave scratch marks and often try and cover their scat, I am narrowing down the culprit as a member of the cat family.

http://www.mammalsociety.org/mammals-new-york says that the Canada lynx and bobcat live in New York, but http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6980.html says the l;ynx no longer lives there. This indicates that the bobcat is the most likely culprit. See http://www.bear-tracker.com/bobcatscat.html for details.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.html says that bobcats usually cover their scat with loose soil, snow, leaves or other material.

I suspect that the yellow-green colour is due to some physiological disorder, rather than being an indicator of the species. http://www.healthgrades.com/symptoms/green-stool gives details of possible causes in humans.

All the best

Jonathan

Wild Animals

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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