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Hello, I'm Mr. Richards. Please join me as I travel to Nova Scotia to study mammals!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Scat, Scat and more scat!

Today we estimated the White Tailed Deer population in the forest. To do this, we did not trap the deer; instead we used field signs to calculate the population. Field signs are any signs that the animal was in the area. These signs can range from evidence of feeding (chewed off buds from trees, bones and carcasses) to animal dens and burrows. In this case, we used scat to determine the animal. Scat is, yes, feces and poop! See the video below to get a good description of deer scat.


We know that white tailed deer produce approximately 20 piles of poop in 1 hectare per day, and it takes 40 days for the poop to decompose before you cannot see it. That means that 1 white tailed deer produces 800 piles of scat (poop) in 1 hectare over time.

Now that we know this, we can estimate the population.

If we look at a 10 by 10 meter area (1/100th a hectare), a deer should poop 8 times in that 10 by 10 meter area (800 poops/100= 8 poops in a 10 by 10 meter square).

IN a 10 by 10 square, we found 1 pile.

Questions (answer in the comment section of the blog. show your work!)

1. How many deer should be in the 1 10 by 10 square (it can be a fraction of a deer...)

2. By our estimates, how many deer should be in a 137 hectare park (the size of the area)?

3. Why do you think we look at scat, and not trap the deer, like we did with the voles?

4. What do you think would happen with the deer population in the summer? Why do you think this?

Bonus video!

1 comment:

  1. 1. 1/8th of a deer

    2. Since only 1 pile of scat was found
    1/8 * 137 = 17.125 deer in 1 hectare.

    3. By looking at scat you don't have to go through the trouble of catching a larger mammal. Scat is a tell tale sign of an animal being in the area so it is a a good marker to check animal populations

    4. The deer population in the summer would most likely rise because they need to prepare for the drop in population during winter and its much easier to survive during the summer climate.

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