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A snippet from my volunteer work on the ‘Dedicated Naturalist’ Project, helping to decipher and digitise, record and publicise the life’s work of naturalist extraordinaire, Dr Mary Gillham.

Scat, pooh, poop, droppings, guano, ordure, cow pies, cowplop, cow pat, meadow muffin, night soil, manure, excrement, faeces, muck, dung. Call it what you will, it’s part of life, and learning to recognise an animal’s excrement is a necessary skill for a good naturalist. Here are Mary’s words of wisdom on the dung of some of Britain’s mammals, with a couple of my photographs for good measure.

Up to 6” long; dropped at irregular intervals and sites. Always black elongated twisted with whip-like tail. Often has mucilaginous coating.
Stoat and polecat
Dark. 1½ – 2” long curved back on itself (boomerang shaped); bigger than weasels. Also an irregular black dollop on track of small mammal. Size of walnut.

More oval pellets than those of hares or rabbits.
Field vole
½” long, cylindrical. Greener than small rodents as eat vegetation. Also get bits of chopped grass in runs.

For the full story about the Mary Gillham Archive Project, check out our website, and follow our progress on Facebook and on Twitter.