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Naturalist Notebook 

October 23, 2011

Who Pooped?

Photo: N. Sincero 2011, Scat Wrangler: S. Sumrall

This scat may be up to five times longer than it is wide and it may contain undigested insect parts. You can find it in western North America, near lakes or ponds. It is getting less common, however; ICUN Red List reports this species is probably in significant decline due to diseases such as chytridiomycosis.

Who pooped?

Leave a comment below with your guess. We will reveal the answer in the comments section on Wednesday, October 26th.

If you have your own natural history mystery (an unidentified animal, plant or other specimen), send a photo or two to naturalist@calacademy.org. We’ll do our best to help out. Please include location, date and any other details that seem pertinent.


ICUN Red List at http://www.iucnredlist.org/ (retrieved August 20th, 2011)

Scats and Tracks of the Pacific Coast, Including British Columbia: A Field Guide to the Signs of 70 Wildlife Species / James C. Halfpenny ; illustrated by Todd Telander. Helena, Mont. : Falcon, c1999. Naturalist Center Reference QL768 .H36 1999

Filed under: Who Pooped — nature @ 8:39 am


  1. Was it a chipmunk?

    Comment by Alyssa — October 23, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  2. An Amphibian….A frog?

    Comment by Rampi — October 24, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  3. Sorry, I forgot to bury it. I hadn’t had much to eat this week.
    White Heron?

    Comment by Ryan — October 24, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  4. Mammal or bird?

    Comment by Ryan — October 24, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  5. Looks like a frog.

    Comment by Brendan McGuigan — October 24, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  6. a frog ?

    Comment by j.griffin — October 24, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  7. Froggies!

    Comment by Rachel — October 24, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  8. Well now I’m not sure, the froggy poop around here doesn’t look like that. It’s one piece, suprisingly big for such small cuties and pointy at each end. (pacific chorus frogs)

    Comment by Rachel — October 24, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  9. tiger salamander?

    Comment by winona — October 24, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  10. Frogs?

    Comment by Rick — October 24, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  11. It’s a salamander I believe, but there are so many on the ICUN Red List it’s hard to pinpoint which species…..from tiger salamander to ringed salamander to streamside salamander! Your guess is as good as mine…hahaha

    Comment by Jorge Lehr — October 24, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  12. a frog Atelopus

    Comment by Violeta — October 24, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  13. After careful consideration I may change my guess to the American bullfrog, since salamanders seem to be carriers rather than to be affected directly by chytrid fungus. And ranid frogs seem to be the most affected by this fungus, and the scat is large by amphibian standards too….

    Comment by Jorge Lehr — October 24, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  14. How about a Western Toad?

    Comment by Rose — October 24, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  15. frog of sorts

    Comment by Theresa Giacomino — October 24, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  16. I don’t know who pooed it, but it looks just like a chocolate desert my Mom always makes at Christmas!

    Comment by RICH — October 24, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  17. Pseudacris regilla

    Comment by Chris Irons — October 24, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  18. Thank you all for your excellent guesses! This week our poop was left by a western or boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas). To see pictures of and learn more about western toads, check out these websites:

    We also have an interesting children’s book in the Naturalist Center that features a UC-Berkeley professor, Tyrone Hayes, and his work on studying the causes of amphibian declines. Members and teachers can borrow the book: The Frog Scientistby Pamela S. Turner. Nat. Ctr. Juv. QL668 .E2 T875 2009.

    We’ll have another “Who Pooped?” challenge soon, but in the meantime, see if you can figure our new “Spotlight On…” challenge.

    Comment by nature — October 26, 2011 @ 9:45 am

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