Exhibit A

Exhibit A.

On a crisp winter day last year, I was touring a Port habitat site with a group of plant scientists when we noticed something peculiar. The bark had been systematically eaten off every single service berry shrub in the area. See Exhibit A.  

The suspect did a good job covering their tracks. Literally, we didn’t see any tracks. They would have gotten away with it except they left behind one little nugget of evidence!  See Exhibit B. 

This single, pea-sized piece of scat, or animal poop, left beneath an eaten shrub confirms that a rabbit is our culprit! Rabbits will strip and eat bark to get through the cold months until the food they usually eat reemerges in the spring.  

Exhibit B

Exhibit B.

Since an animal’s survival depends on not being seen, scat is one way for scientists to learn about wildlife without actually seeing them. For example, scat can confirm the presence of an animal in a location and provide information about what the animal is eating. Predators, for example, will often have feathers or fur in their scat. 

Bunny-proof fencing

In this situation, scat cracked the case of the eaten service berries. To protect the remaining stems from our furry friends, I placed plastic fencing around each of the impacted shrubs. The plants survived this winter, and no bunny was harmed in the process.

As the port biologist, I come across a lot of scat in the field. It’s exciting to see because it means that animals are using our habitat sites! Have a look at the pictures of scat I found in the field and see if you can match it to the animal.

Hint, think about what the animal eats.  

Can you guess what animal is responsible for which?

Answers to the quiz

Specimen 1


Specimen 2


Specimen 3

River otter

Specimen 4