Is There A Message in “Pooping”?

I noticed a couple of coyotes showing curiosity, at a distance, towards a dog walking along a path with its owner. The owner later told me that the coyotes had actually tried sniffing her dog’s end. This dog is one that is not interested in coyotes — the dog is not oblivious to coyotes, but does ignore them. By the time I had met up with this walker and her dog, the two young coyotes had moved ahead and now appeared on the path some distance in front of us. They had their eyes in our direction — they were watching the dog and they were obviously curious about its not reacting to them. The coyotes stood there, so the dog owner asked her dog to sit, to keep it from getting any closer to the coyotes. The dog did so immediately. So we all watched each other.

The closer coyote was especially curious and even headed our way a few paces. But its bravery waned as we all began to hear voices on the path from where we had come. But before running off, this coyote squatted down and pooped, right there in front of us, on the path, facing us and keeping its eyes on us! I have seen this exact same behavior before, but in this case there had been no dog with me. Was this a message? Coyote scat is often found right in the middle of paths. Was there meaning to this, to either the scat itself or the pooping process, or was it just that “when you have to go, you have to go”? Others have asked this same question.

Yuck!! Coyote Scat is a sign of their presence

Coyote scat is not beautiful, but it is a tell-tale sign that coyotes are around. I am adding a blurb here, just for the record. Most coyote scat is long with rope-like twists. It usually is about 3/4″ thick, it is usually sectioned for a total of five to eight inches in length and it ends in an elongated point — this is a gross generalization. It has this form because it is loaded with fur. If the scat is broken apart, the fur becomes even more obvious — not like a dog’s feces. Coyotes eat entire animals, so the indigestible fur is expelled. Coyote scat has a variety of looks: one form I don’t have here is a soft globby pile, often with seeds. Coyotes are opportunistic eaters, which means they will eat whatever they can; and what goes in must come out. Coyote scat has a very distinct “musty” smell — it does not smell at all like dog poop. It’s color runs from greenish to blackish, but I’ve also seen some brown. Unpleasant though the topic might be, coyotes suffer from bouts of diarrhea now and then. I’ve wondered if this is caused by carrion that has gone bad, or by some human food that they might have found.

Coyote scat has been used by Professor Ben Sacks of UC Davis. He has extracted the DNA from the scat to identify what larger group the coyote belongs to, and therefore from where it originated. So scat has very high profile scientific uses! Owl pellets — the undigested portions of an eaten animal that is coughed up by owls — is also studied in detail to help determine exactly what the owl eats. Coyote scat is studied in this way, too.