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Walking along my property today I came across some very fresh scat. I'm comfortable with identifying deer and black bear droppings, but beyond that I am lost.

Can anyone identify these droppings so I can know if there is a safety concern for my family? The terrain around my house is flat and forested, and the scat was found very fresh at 3:30PM.

Warning: Click to open shit literally: http://i.stack.imgur.com/ibGpR.jpg

  • I'd be inclined to say it is a meat eater. Mostly animals who eat a meat based diet will leave longer poops, like a dog or cat. Whereas vegetation eaters tend to leave pellets, though this isn't always the case it allows some hint at what it is. – Aravona Sep 21 '14 at 14:49
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    It looks like there are some sort of nuts in it, but I suppose that could be true either way. Maybe a neighborhood dog got loose. – JMD Sep 21 '14 at 14:56
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    I didn't mean to imply it was a dog or cat, they are just a good example of what a primary meat eaters poop looks like, in general terms. Animals which eat meat as part of the diet will have a longer poo which for some curls as it's dropped (eg a fox) whereas vegetation eaters tend to leave pellets, even a horse will they are just large. Both can leave very sloppy poos, and the smell can be a clue to the animal that left it as well. – Aravona Sep 21 '14 at 15:01
  • What's the approximate size (length, diameter)? – requiem Sep 22 '14 at 8:08
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Unfortunately your picture doesn't give a good sense of scale, but my first reaction was that it looked like dog poop. Some other canid is also possible, with coyote being the most probable, then fox.

As for safety concert, you don't need to examine poop for that. There is nothing in southern NH that is a physical threat to humans, at least assuming a normal healthy animal. Black bears can hurt you if they want to, but they don't want to, unless you do something deliberately stupid. The most dangerous animal in NH is a human. Second on the list is a moose. But again, other than humans, nothing is going to bother you unless you do something stupid.

I hike around a lot in nothern MA and sometimes in the White Mountains of NH, and I have never come accross any animal that presented a danger. We have coyotes living in the woods around our house in northern MA, but they present no danger. They run away as soon as they see us. Actually we see them only occasionally, but we hear them howling every night in response to nearby train whistles.

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Was it too big to be a coyote? There are certainly coyotes in Western Massachusetts, and there have been for probably twenty years. That's not far from Southern NH, so they might be in your area as well. They can be fairly large dogs compared to the coyotes found in the west.

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