Droppings, Scat & Feces Identification
Feces identification, also known as scat, can be a difficult task as feces change according to the animal's diet. However, by asking the right questions you can go a long way to reduce the number of available suspects.
WARNING: Before you begin identification of scat be sure to read our safety information.
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.
4. Tools to Identify Animal Droppings
Important Observations to Make When Identifying Scat
- Safety First!! Look, more than touch!! If you have to touch, use a tool and/or properly gloved hands!! STAY UP WIND!!
- Determine its size both in length and width.
- Identify its form.
- Is it round like a pellet?
- Tubular, like a Tootsie Roll?
- 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?
- Is there one dropping or multiple?
- Can you identify any hair or food particles in the droppings? Sometimes corn, berries, seeds, and insect wings aren't completely digested.
- What time of day do you find the droppings? Would they have been left at night or during the day?
- Is it a one time event or does it occur in the same general spot for several days?
- What is above the scat? Could it have dropped from a tree or overhanging plant?
- 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.
- Does any portion of the dropping contain white elements? If yes, then click
Answering these questions, you will really help you (or
us if you hire us) to identify the source of the droppings.
Questions that rarely help identify feces.
- Color--color is a result of the animal's diet which can easily change.
- Consistency--generally speaking the softer the feces the fresher it is. Also sometimes animals get diarhea or constipation.
When all th eabove tools fail to help, then you may hire
us to provide our opinion. Cost is only $5.00.
Here is a list of questions you will be directed to answer when you visit
1. Taking Good Photos of the
2. Provide background information
- where you live
- habitat, e.g. suburbs, country, city
- was the dropping left there during day, or night?
- Where was the dropping left? inside house, lawn, garden, deck, etc.
- Length of dropping
- Width of dropping
- Shape of dropping e.g. circular, tubular, plop, segmented, blunt ends, pointed
ends, any combination of the above.
- Note any objects in the scat, such as wings, seeds, colors, hair, fiber, etc.
- What is above the dropping? Could it have fallen from a plant?
3. Submit high resolution photos. Submission means you grant
unrestricted rights to ICWDM.org to use your images for educational
Failure to send all the above information may impact the quality of our opinion. Please take
the time to give us the information we need to properly identify the scat.