Red Necked Wallaby

Dusty Miller

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older.jpg
Older scat is dry and may have lost fines from the outside.

fresher.jpg
Newer scat (more than a few hours old, but less than a week) has a darker appearance due to high moisture content.

Scat from Red-necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus)
 
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Dusty

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Thanks guys. IDing the newer scat is great cause guaranteed the animals will be close by. Well that is what has happened in my experience. I feel a sense of achievement spotting new scat and then spotting the animal a little time later in the same vicinity. I practice this on our farm which keeps me developing my skills of astuteness. But I always need Auscraft with me to confirm my ID is right then I go looking for the animal. I hope I get really good at this in time. It is good fun
Dusty
 

Dusty Miller

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These scats are from red necked wallabies. Compare with my previous post, where the scat is not obviously wet and has a very dark colour.

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This scat is green. I have only ever seen this within a few tens of metres of animals.

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This one is very wet on the surface but starting to darken. It could not have been more than a few hours old.
 
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Dusty Miller

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Just to show that humans aren't the only animals to get this wrong in the bush.



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The one on the left has dropped onto the rock and left a neat circular mark. If on a larger rock, where the scat was not obvious due to rolling, the circular mark would be a clue to examine the edges of the rock for scat. Such a situation is more likely for rock wallabies, where rocks are larger and rolling more likely to remove the scat from the scene. Remember, rock and roll.

The one up the top has been stepped on. Notice the drier upper surface of the flat scat. There is also some liquid squeezed out of the scat and onto the rock (fibres not readily visible), and there is a little smearing of larger fibres. Since liquid sqeezed from the scat under pressure, we can say that the stepping was done when the scat was wet and therefore nearly new. The flat scat will dry much faster than the round ones, since it has been squeezed and also has more surface area and a thinner section.
 

Dusty Miller

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goopoo.jpg

This scat is very liquid and green. It has a different shape, so is not ordinary new scat for this species. Many herbivourous animals produce scat like this when their diet is changed. Mammals lack the enzymes needed to break down and utilise cellulose, instead, grazing animals rely on bacteria (and also worms in the case of some marsupials) to break down cellulose to make the sugars available (cellulose is a whole bunch of glucose molecules stuck together as a polymer).

The intestines of grazers are a big tube full of bacterial and worm communites, and disturbances to the foods going in (changes in diet) affect the types of bacteria that prosper, and the types of byproducts released into the gut (gases, sugars, organic acids etc). Too much rich feed too quickly does this to sheep, and they can die from the gases released (bloat). After some time on the new diet, a new equilibrium is reached and the scat will become more normal, until then, scat like this is common.
 
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