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Q: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
Category: Family and Home > Pets
Asked by: judywithacee-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 25 Sep 2006 16:01 PDT
Expires: 25 Oct 2006 16:01 PDT
Question ID: 768372
For the last few weeks a small amount of animal feces has turned up on
our patio and we can't identify the source. The feces is about 2" in
length, about 3/8" in diameter. We've seen rabbits, mole tunnels,
chipmunks, garden snakes (just 2), opossum and toads on the property,
as well as a brown
creature that looks something like a ground chuck.   

Will this site let me post a photo of the feces?  If it will help, I'll do so.

I don't think the feces came from a rabbit (they seem to produce
pellet-like feces), seems too large for a chipmunk or snake, not large
enough for a
raccoon (which we haven't seen but may be out there, though online
photos of coon feces didn't look like these). The portion of our yard
that is encompassed by privacy fencing, includes the patio. We've not
seen opossum in the fenced area before, nor the ground chuck.

My fear is that it's a coon, or a snake maybe larger than than the
36"L garden snake we saw a year ago.
I think it may have eaten our toad. We had a toad that came to sit
with its back against our patio door at night, 4 times in Aug & Sept.
I kept carrying it out of the fenced area to keep our dog from finding
it; toad kept
coming back. Has to be the same toad, we've never had a toad loiter on
the patio before. Evenings here (northern Indiana) are cool now, and
the toad seemed sluggish, semi-hibernating, I think, but when last
seen had emitted its poison on the concrete and was laying with its
legs spread out behind. A bit later it was gone and another turd was in
its place.  I think we interrupted the predator's toad snack and after
we went away, it came back to finish its meal.

Question: what sort of animal produces feces such as described?  Would
it devour a toad larger than an egg? I read online that coons will
drag a toad on the ground to wipe away the poison before eating.  Is
there uniformity in raccoon feces; could the feces in the photos I
found online belong to southern raccoons, for example, and look different
than feces of a Midwestern raccoon?  If a snake, what size
snake would it take to eat an egg-sized toad?  The grass in our
backyard is overly long, not to the knee, but certainly to the ankle. 
We don't live in a woods or on the water, but do live in the country,
and have corn fields within site of our front door.  Tell me it can't be a

The concern is about our old dog.  She's too large to be eaten by any
snake ever grown in northern Indiana, but too stupid not to try attacking a
raccoon, and not spry enough to do anything but get hurt.  Yes, she's
fully immunized.

Request for Question Clarification by crabcakes-ga on 25 Sep 2006 18:10 PDT
Yes, you may post a photo! I am working on your answer, so please go
ahead and post the photo. (I have over 25 years in health care, and
photos of poop don't gross me out. Fortunately, photos have no odor,
which DOES bother me!!    :-)

Regards, Crabcakes
Subject: Re: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 25 Sep 2006 20:08 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Judywithacee,

   I?m betting that the droppings you are finding belong to a raccoon,
a possum, or a skunk.  Snake droppings don?t quite match the
description, and rat droppings seem too small.

  After you look at the pictures I posted, in the latter part of this
answer, feel free to post a clarification letting me know if I?m right
or wrong.

  You can post your pictures by going to and uploading
your pictures. The post the link(s) to this question.

   ?Predators of American Toads include snakes, owls, skunks and raccoons.?

   ?In the wild, a raccoon is omnivorous, eating plants and animals. 
Its menu includes plants like berries, acorns, and grapes.  It also
eats animals including baby mice, baby birds & eggs, frogs, crayfish,
fiddler crabs, fish, and even some snakes.  Around people, the raccoon
loves to eat the corn in our gardens, garbage, and even animals that
have been killed by cars.?

Snakes in Indiana
   ?Most of Indiana?s snakes are not poisonous. In fact, there are
only four venomous snakes in the state, and their distributions are
limited (check the maps in the back of this booklet). All of the
venomous snakes in Indiana belong to the pit viper family. Members of
this family share common physical characteristics that separate them
from nonvenomous species. Pit vipers have a sensory pit located
between the eye and the nostril on each side of their head. These pits
detect heat, thereby helping the snake locate warm-blooded prey, even
in the dark. Other snakes lack these sensory pits. Thus, if it looks
like your snake has four nostrils, it?s a pit viper. Of course,
checking for pits requires getting a good look at the ?business? end
of the snake ? to be safe, don?t get closer than the length of the
snake. This brings up a general point: no one should ever attempt to
handle a snake that is or may be venomous unless they have undergone
extensive training by a professional. Even snake researchers avoid
handling their venomous subjects whenever possible.?

 ?Because there are so few poisonous snakes in Indiana, we can impose
some simple rules to help you to identify them. These rules will not
work outside of this state or with exotic species. Indiana?s poisonous
snakes are all very heavy-bodied ? they look ?fat.? They also have
broad, spade-shaped heads that are distinctly wider than their narrow

   ?Signs of snake predation include: Usually all (possibly some) eggs
(egg numbers go down and up over time) or nestlings (especially
unfeathered, and those near fledging) suddenly gone, nest intact,
female missing, or parents still around, snake found in box. No traces
of eggs shells or nestling remains. MAY find snake feces (little round
or egg-shaped balls with tightly compressed hair or feathers, usually
smaller than a bluebird egg.)?

   ?Garter snakes feeding on mice don?t need to be fed as often (the
average garter would need twice-weekly feedings of fish or worms,
while once weekly with mice is fine) and they grow faster, too. And
another significant advantage: garter snake feces are less watery and
less smelly!?

Feces Photos:

Feces from a pit viper in Latin America

Rat Droppings

Scroll down the page to the photos:

Raccoon Excrement

?Raccoon scat is tubular and blunt on the ends. Scat may contain
parasites that can get into human lungs, so handling it is not
advisable.? Scroll down for additional photos, with a nickel for size

Hedgehog Feces

Squirrel feces

Possum Droppings

Skunk Droppings

Fox droppings

Hedgehog and Fox droppings

Owl droppings

Assorted droppings

   I hope this answer has helped you identify the animal droppings you
have found. If not, please ask for an Answer Clarification, and allow
me to respond, before you rate this answer!

Oh, since raccoons are nocturnal, perhaps you?d consider bringing your
dog in for the night! Maybe a video camera, or a webcam by the door at
night will capture a photo of the poop-varmint!

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Snake feces
Snake dung
snake scat
recognizing reptile feces
animal droppings
raccoon feces
squirrel excrement
wild animal feces
possum feces
Rat droppings
judywithacee-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Very helpful indeed, crabcakes found far more than I guessed was out
there and other participants also helped narrow it down.

Subject: Re: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
From: stanmartin1952-ga on 25 Sep 2006 22:00 PDT
I'm not a feceologist, but could it be a cat?
Subject: Re: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
From: cynthia-ga on 26 Sep 2006 02:15 PDT
Great word there stan! (fecotologist) --I've had many cats and I don't
think the size matches --even remotely. I presently own two 5lb
chihuahuas whose "droppings" are bigger than judywithacee's
description, but then, they are spoiled (rotten).

...2" in length, about 3/8" diameter...?

I think it's a possum. Raccoons are too big and skunks are not as
common in populated areas:
Subject: Re: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
From: richardmtl-ga on 26 Sep 2006 10:44 PDT
Please don't take offense judywithacee, but this question would have
won my "Strangest GA question ever" contest a few week back
( I especially
admire your concern for your friend the toad. Thanks for the great
Subject: Re: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
From: judywithacee-ga on 02 Oct 2006 21:31 PDT
Thank you so much.  Based on the descriptions, we have a
hedgehog...which is probably impossible, too cold in Indiana.  A skunk
seems more likely.
Really not wanting a skunk in our backyard with a silly old dog.  In
the field behind our house are 5 apple trees all laden with apples.  I
would think fruit would be more appealing than a toad to a possum or

<img src:"">

If that doesn't work, here's a link:
Subject: Re: Identifying animal feces. Rodent or reptile?
From: crabcakes-ga on 02 Oct 2006 23:33 PDT
Thank you Judywithacee, for the 5 stars and the generous tip! Both are
much appreciated!

Sincerely, Crabcakes

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