Brown or Black Droppings

Be careful! Droppings can carry pathogens that cause diseases in humans. Wear gloves and wash thoroughly after working with or near droppings.

What shape are the droppings?

Tubular Pelleted Globular
Tubular ScatDeerScatGlobular Scat

If droppings are smaller than those of a dog, click here.


Black Bear (Ursus americanus): The shovel in the photo gives an idea of the size of the droppings. Color will vary, depending on what the bear has been eating.
Black bear scat

Coyote (Canis latrans): Droppings can be several inches long and full of animal hair, especially in winter when fruit is not available. Droppings will be dark due to blood of the prey. They will often be found at cross roads and along trails, as coyotes use droppings to mark their territory.Coyote scat
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus): Deer can have tubular or pelleted scat. The pellets can usually be seen even in tubular deer scat.
White-tailed deer scat

Raccoon (Procyon lotor): Droppings are 2 to 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. You often can identify what a raccoon recently has been eating. Corn kernels or fruit may be visible, for example. Droppings frequently are found in piles, called latrines, on roofs, in attics, in sandboxes, or open areas. Raccoons defecate in the same location.

Caution!! Raccoon feces may contain a dangerous roundworm. Learn more about Raccoon roundworm.
Raccoon width=
Toad (Bufo sp.): Droppings can be found in the same area morning after morning, often near flood lights as toads are drawn to insects attracted to the night lights. You may see exoskeletons of insects in the scat.Frog dropping found inside garage. When broken apart, contains mostly beetles
Shrews (Family Soricidae):
Shrew droppings are 1/16 inch in diameter and almost a 1/4 inch in length. They are frequently curled and in piles. The odor is quite distinctive.
Shrew feces

Pelleted Droppings and/or Smaller than Dog Droppings

Bats (Order Chiroptera)

The image shows a close-up of bat droppings with a penny for scale. The white speckles in this fresh guano are the remains of undigested insect wings. Bats often defecate when leaving the building they live in. Sometimes you can see droppings caught in spider webs, too. Bat droppings tend to be in piles in the attic below where they roost during the day.

WARNING: Don't enter attics without wearing proper protection, which includes but is not limited to, a HEPA filter mask, sturdy gloves, long pants, and good lighting. Make sure filter masks are properly fitted and that you are healthy enough to breathe with a mask.
Bat droppings with undigested insect wings appearing as white speckles.
Caterpillars (Family Limacodidae)

Scat from caterpillars tends to be squarish and cubed, but can be easily confused with bat droppings. Caterpillar droppings are typically found underneath trees.
Photo by Michael Colburn.
Photo courtesy of Michael Colburn.
Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana)

In the photo, the 2 small black flecks to the right of the penny are cockroach droppings. They can look like pepper sprinkled on the floor.
Two cockroach droppings with penny for size comparison.
Photo courtesy of Stephen M. Vantassel.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

White-tailed deer droppings are found in piles, much like those of llamas and elk.
White-tailed deer droppings with quarter to show relative size.
Photo courtesy of Stephen M. Vantassel.
Elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni)

You'll see elk droppings in piles or clusters, the same as for deer and llamas. Elk droppings are larger than deer droppings.
Elk droppings with US nickel for size.
The US nickel on left side for size comparison.
House Mice (Mus musculus)

Mouse scat tends to be black (hard when dry), pointed on one end, and about 1/4 inch in length. You'll find them in scattered patterns in high-traffic areas.
Mouse dropping next to a penny.
Flying Squirrels (Family Sciuridae)

Droppings of flying squirrels appear moist. This photo was taken of the area directly below the attic vent that the flying squirrels were using to exit and enter the building.

Never enter an attic without proper protection. Flying squirrel excrement has been known to contain typhus.
Flying squirrel droppings and urine stains directly below an attic vent in the attic.
Flying squirrel droppings and urine stains directly below an attic vent in the attic.
Rabbits (Family Lagomorph)

Scat is usually found where they are feeding. These brown droppings are due to the excessive amount of bark consumed, a typical occurrence during a snowy winter.
Rabbit droppings with woody appearance, about the size of a dime. Larger due to water penetration and subsequent expansion in snow.


Globular droppings are difficult to identify because the scat lacks distinctive characteristics of formed scat. That means that the amount and location are even more important clues for identifying the source of the scat.

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

Scat of black bear typically can be identified by location (i.e. do black bears reside in your state?) and by size, as droppings tend to be large (human-sized).
Bear scat next to 8-inch long pencil. Scat was two days old when photographed.
Bear scat next to 8-inch long pencil. Scat was two days old.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

During the summer and periods where deer can obtain a high-fiber diet, the pellets will frequently clump. Photo courtesy of Roger Barcus of MN.
Deer droppings. Photo courtesy of Roger Barcus of MN.
Photo courtesy of Roger Barcus, MN.