Garbage In, Garbage Out

“Garbage in, garbage out” — well, sort of. Coyotes don’t seem to digest everything thoroughly, so you can actually tell some of the things they’ve eaten — very similar to owl pellets. Teeth, claws, fur, seeds, bone pieces and even plastic bags give away what the coyote has been ingesting. In this case here, it’s grass that went in one end and came out the other totally unchanged except in its scat shape! Coyotes, like dogs, often eat grass and regurgitate it as an intestinal cleanser when they have an upset tummy. Here, and I’ve seen other instances of this, the grass passed all the way through the digestive tract intact.

More Scatology. I passed this combination early in the morning: A stick across a path — large enough to be perceived as a low barrier that someone such as a coyote would have to step over. Right in front of it was . . . . a coyote’s scat deposit. Scat is often found on paths and at “crossroads”. It is often “performed” in plain view of a person approaching. Here, it is deposited by a new, and therefore unexpected, barrier that turned up on a coyote’s regular route. The stick could have been left by a dog who left his odors on the stick. Coyotes often poop — i.e. “mark” — on top of what “others” have left something behind, be it urine, poop or something else unusual such as a toy. There seems to be significance in pooping, but I haven’t totally caught onto what this is yet, except that it serves as a “marker” and possibly a message of “oneupmanship”.

The one other explanation for the scat next to the stick is that a coyote might have been actually carrying the stick himself — as a toy — and when he was through with it, he dropped it and then pooped on it, or close to it, as an indication of ownership. “Scatological studies”, by the way, allow one to determine a wide range of biological information about a creature. Here, it seems the scat also conveys some information about behavior.

Another combination I’ve seen frequently is scat deposited in a depression — sometimes a very small depression, so the aim is pretty good. Again, I’ve wondered about the significance — about the “why” of this.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Wood
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:51:53

    Interesting, in particular the scat in a depression. I wonder what makes the depressions? What strikes me in the photograph is how out of the ordinary the depression looks. Even to me it looks like it doesn’t belong there and I might have a problem with it myself. If it is an anomaly in their path, maybe it gets the extra attention for being so?


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