I was at Exclusive Books yesterday to pick up a book I had ordered.

The assistant battled to find it and spent a frustrating 5 minutes hunting around for it at the back. I had given her the title “Scatalog”…so you’d think she’d be right on it!? Not a chance…

Imagine the faces behind me when I had to explain clearly and slowly to the by now cross-eyed woman that it was “a-book-about-poo!”

It is a little book – only 40 pages long and fits neatly into a backpack pocket.

The intro says it all…it is a ‘whodunit guide’ to make animal droppings, dung or scat easier to ID and it does this for about 100 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and frogs. It’s the most marvelous collection of photos of poo you’ll ever get your hands on…

This booklet is going to make walks with Tim and his mates much more fun and a little more entertaining. Now we have no excuses when we come across a pile of twig or shell encrusted turds and glibly say “probably mongoose….maybe otter….?”. Now we have to look it up, measure it and dissect away merrily. We even have a full blown chart and key with avge width, length, and whether it contains bones, hair, millipedes, crabs, scales, sand, grass, seeds etc!

We have to consider whether the turds have been dispatched onto an elevated area, buried or broken…..all important bits of the poo puzzle, it seems.
The guide is full of wonderful little factoids. I bet you didn’t know that carnivore poo is generally cylindrical and pointy at one end? No, neither did I…
And that Steenbok (bless them) usually bury the evidence? Or try to anyway…

The author’s end note is brilliant and so very true.
‘Our lives nowadays are sadly disconnected from the natural environment upon which we depend so intimately. Anything that helps us connect adds depth and meaning, broadening our awareness and understanding of the natural world around us. Identifying the scat of an animal immediately connects us with that animal, whether in our cities, our villages, our farms or in the wild. Animal scats reveal which fellow travelers have been our way, and when.’

3 thoughts on “Poo

  1. Brilliant! Please bring along on our next get together – fascinating. I love poo stuff. Also fun to compare what kind of animal we are…you’re a Steenbok?!

  2. the end note is spot on. Our disconnection so visible to me in our blind and senseless consumption ….if we had more connection we would see how much we use. and waste. (and poop!)

  3. A worthy study indeed, which can also tell you about condition (from parasite loads), reproduction (hormone metabolites) and genetics (from DNA), but that comes later. Always handle samples with care, even when dry. Worth packing disposable gloves. Keep hunting – most rewarding!

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