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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Everybody Poops (especially deer)

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A well-known, but often suppressed fact of life is that everybody poops. Yes, you, and even I, must heed the call of nature, but we sometimes forget about our furry friends in the Arboretum who also heed this call.

Some of the most common scats of the Arboretum, which should surprise nobody, are rabbit and deer scat. Both deer and rabbit scat tend to take the form of pellets. This can be attributed to a number of things, but primary reasons for which pellets take this shape are diet and anatomy. The colon of deer and rabbits rhythmically expels the feces, and the fibrous composition is thought to help hold it together.

But if they are both pellets, how do we tell them apart? Firstly, a deer might leave behind a higher volume of scat than a rabbit. Additionally, in the words of Matt Elbert (the Arboretum’s manager), their appearance is very similar to that of Raisinettes at this time of year. Simply put, they may be a little less regular in shape than rabbit pellets.

Herbivores are quite interesting, but if you’re like me, you may find their scat to be a little too ordinary. If you find yourself in this crowd, then I highly recommend keeping your eyes peeled for owl pellets.

The first thing to look for in this endeavor is white wash. White wash is the white component of bird excrement and you may find it on some large trees out in the arboretum near head height or on the ground. Once found, search the ground for black solid clumps that will likely be frozen through.

If you’re lucky, you might just find one of these owl pellets. Breaking it apart with your hands will almost surely reveal small bones of various prey the owl has consumed recently. Just don’t forget to wash those hands when you are done!

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