Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seen in the Sanctuary

This is a photo of Coyote scat found on the Wishart Trail in the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary this afternoon.

Some concerned visitors spotted it earlier in the day and were wondering if a bear had indeed done what bears are reputed to do in the woods.

At this time of year it's an easy mistake to make. Coyotes in late summer become very omnivorous; consuming berries, leaves, decaying animals and prey they themselves have killed. This combination of foods, especially the berry content, makes scat that very much resembles bear droppings.

The keys to identifying these souvenirs as being left behind by a coyote and not a bear are the shape of the individual scats and the size of deposit. This sample is much smaller and better formed than anything a Black Bear would excrete.

Coyotes, foxes, moose, deer and other mammals are all consuming sugar-rich berries at this time of year. This means that almost everything is leaving scats that resemble bear droppings.

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