Feces Identification Procedure

Stop-Warning1. Feces identification is NOT easy. Simple changes an animal's diet can dramatically change the color, shape and contents of feces making it difficult to determine the source of the droppings without scientific equipment.

Biohazards with wildlife scat2. Feces identification can be dangerous!! Be safe. Droppings are dirty and germy. Avoid handling droppings without proper protection, which includes avoiding inhaling around it. Some diseases may contracted through dust borne particles.

Look, more than touch!! If you have to touch, use a tool and/or properly gloved hands!! STAY UP WIND!!

Tips to help you identify scat

  1. Where do you live? Your location tells us what kinds of animals are likely to live in your area. For example, polar bears don't live in Florida so the scat cannot be from a polar bear.:)
  2. Describe your habitat. Is it wooded, grassy, near water, rocky, mountainous, hilly, sandy, etc. For example, thirteen-lined ground squirrels don't live in tall grass. So scat wouldn't be from them if found in tall grassy area.
  3. Determine its size both in length and width.
  4. Identify its form.
    • Is it round like a pellet?
    • Tubular?
    • Are the ends flat or pointed or is one end flat and the other pointed?
    • Is it smooth from one end to the other? Or is it segmented like a natural fibered rope?
  5. Is there one dropping or multiple?
  6. Can you identify any hair or food particles in the droppings? Sometimes corn, berries, seeds, and insect wings aren't completely digested.
  7. What time of day do you find the droppings? Would they have been left at night or during the day?
  8. Is it a one time event or does it occur in the same general spot for several days?
  9. What state are you from and what type of habitat do you reside in (ie. woods, urban, suburban, agricultural etc.) as this helps us know what types of animals live in your area.
  10. Are the droppings white? If yes, then click White Droppings

Answering these questions, you will really help you to identify the droppings.

Questions that rarely help identify feces.

  1. Color--color is a result of the animal's diet which can easily change.
  2. Consistency--generally speaking the softer the feces the fresher it is. Also sometimes animals get diarhea or constipation.


Go to the Scat Identification Page

Scat Identification Service

Photos of feces, by Stephen M. VantasselIf you would like to obtain our opinion, then visit our store page. Cost is $5.00

Answer the questions as accurately as possible and we'll do provide our opinion.

Providing Photo Support

Photos help us identify scat more accurately. Submissions mean that you are granting ICWDM unrestricted use of the photos for educational purposes.

To learn how to take better photos visit Wildlife CSI

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