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Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?

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Offline brianleepainter

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Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?
« on: June 03, 2013, 01:17:07 PM »
Hey there, I had a quick question on scat identification. I came across this one evening, on The Chimneys trail, there is no size reference in the photo but the pile of scat was about the width of my outstretched hand and was fresh,too. Is this mountain lion scat? Thanks.


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Offline RichardM

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Re: Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 02:46:36 PM »
Hey there, I had a quick question on scat identification. I came across this one evening, on The Chimneys trail, there is no size reference in the photo but the pile of scat was about the width of my outstretched hand and was fresh,too. Is this mountain lion scat? Thanks.
Can't really tell too much from looking at the attached picture. Was there any hair in it? If there are seeds/plant material, then it's probably from a javelina. There's a good book on scat sold at the visitor's centers called "Who Pooped in the Park?"

Cougars will deposit their scat in the middle of trails and dirt roads as a territorial marking. They will sometimes scrape together a pile of debris and urinate or defecate on it. This is another form of territorial marking. Cougar scats are segmented and the ends are rounder than those of canines. Cougar scat is about the size of a large dog's scat and usually contains large amounts of hair. Also, Cougar scat can be often difficult to find because of the animalís secretive nature and tendency to bury it (look for dirt mounds like a house cat makes, but much larger). It generally has a segmented appearance with non-tapered ends.

How to tell if it's from a Cougar?
Being able to identify mountain lion scat is an important part of determining the threat level of mountain lions in the area.

Step 1 Look at size. Generally, the scat of a mountain lion is roughly the same size as dog scat, making it fairly distinct from the much smaller scat of bobcats and the larger scat of deer, elk and other bigger mammals.

Step 2 Check out the composition. Cougar scat has a fairly consistent composition. However, one of the most noticeable features of cougar scat is the presence of a fair amount of hair, usually the remnants of the animal's last meal.

Step 3 Look at the shape. While mountain lion scat is similar in size to dog scat it has some noticeable differences. Mountain lion scat has distinctly rounded ends. The scat is also divided into fairly clear segments, each of which is roughly one inch in diameter.

Step 4 Pay attention to the location. Like most cats, mountain lions are fairly deliberate about where they put their droppings. Mountain lions often leave their scat in the open. For example, you'll find it on the middle of a trail. In many cases, the animal gathers a small pile of debris, such as a pile of twigs or leaves, and then defecates on it as a territorial marker.

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Offline brianleepainter

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Re: Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 10:26:20 AM »
Thank you RichardM, for the helpful response. No, I don't recall any hair in it. I may check that book out for a better understanding.

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2013, 12:14:29 PM »
Definitely hard to tell from the small and dark image, but it LOOKS like it is some other kind of scat. Normally the big kitty droppings look longer and one of the most noteworthy things you'll see off the bat is a definitive volume of hair in the scat. Dried out lion poo can look like big clumps of rope. I've been told that poo from carnivores can have a dark appearance since meat based products/blood tends to run black as a waste product. On the flip side, a lot of cactus pears and berries can yield some pretty dark poo as well.

Foxes eat a good deal of berries as well as small rodents and whatever else they happen across, so sometimes foxes can make little hairy rope poos as well, as will a coyote. It all depends on what was for dinner, etc, but I'm fairly confident that once you do see a big lion's poo with the rope like hair interwoven with digested material (almost none of which will be derived from berries), you'll know. The hefty rope will leave you with no doubt that a lion just returned a deer to the circle of life not long before you saw the poo. Anyway, I felt like talking a little crap today. Thanks! :)
Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2013, 12:12:26 AM »
What did it taste like?

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Identifying Scat, is this from a mountain lion?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2013, 12:29:12 AM »
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

 


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