You are what you eat… (this applies to nature too)

You may want to put your breakfast down before reading the rest of this post – we’re talking about tracking animals today; specifically about some of their “droppings.”

I grew up looking down.  It is an irony that the tallest animals of the forest leave signs of their presence on the forest floor while the smallest (such as woodpeckers and squirrels) leave their signs on high.

Can you tell which animals left which droppings below?

You are what you eat... (this applies to nature too) October

You are what you eat... (this applies to nature too) October

The first pile is from a bear.  I would guess it is 5-10 days old though the exact age is difficult to tell because of the amount of rain we’ve had in Southern Ontario this autumn.  Rain erodes all animal trails (other than things like bite or nail markings in wood and antlers dropped in the forest).  Precipitation can make relatively new sign appear old in a hurry.

Note the diet of the bear has a great impact on the sign left behind – the amount of seeds and berries should be apparent with a quick glance.

The second pile is also eroded by the rain.  Fresh droppings are rarely shiny like this example of Moose Droppings from Algonquin.  These are fresher than the bear sign but are also several days old.

Moose eat more twigs and wood than the black bear – in fact a favourite snack are buds on the end of tree branches.  It’s remarkable to think that such a large animal (they can weigh 800 pounds and more) eats the delicate little ends of sticks which can be less than a centimetre (0.4 inches) in length.  I have eaten these buds with no consequence (and little nutrition) and I often snack on a few as a tradition at a watch.

Moose poo is more fibrous than it’s berry eating counterpart – as opposed to seeds you can see strands which resemble fibers like grass.

Kind of a crappy post but hoping you may find it interesting!


  1. Looks like brown kibble, lol!

  2. Shaeffer thought that on thanksgiving weekend as well, and grabbed some before i had a chance to pull him away…ewwww.

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