Hi, I'm Mr. Coppelli. Follow me to Nova Scotia as I participate in research studying mammals!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coastal Hike!

Today we went for a grueling (kidding) coastal hike. It was actually really beautiful and informative. The purpose of the hike was to (1) get familiar with the coastal morphology (morphology: the form or shape of something), and (2) see what animals are frequenting the coastline.
We mostly used indirect methods to find signs of animal presence. Indirect methods means that you are not actually seeing the animal in person, but finding secondary signs to tell if the animal was there. A few examples of indirect methods are finding scat (feces of an animal), tracks (the actual footprints of an animal on sand or mud), nests, food stores, and bones from when an animal dies.
On this route we found various scats from different animals. One in particular was coyote scat. This we were able to positively identify because it had hair remains and bone remains in it. Coyotes are carniverous animals so they would eat something like a hare (a rabbit), badger, skunk, or other small rodent. Coyotes generally eat the whole carcass but they cannot digest the hair and bones so those usually come out in the feces. You can see a picture of it below!

Question: why is finding scat important in order to identify what creatures have been in the area?

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