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Scatology 101: Downloading Unexpected Info in the Wild

Nature provides a wealth of information provided one knows how to decode it. Animal scat, excretions and secretions can unassumingly be great sources of knowledge for the naturalist or nature traveler. Just as a weather forecaster can read what’s happening in the atmosphere and make predictions, a good tracker can examine scat and tell you which species has been present, what its health condition is, its food habits, and when it was last seen. But these revelations are of interest not just for humans intent on finding and learning about wildlife: animals also use scat, urine and sprays to communicate amongst themselves, as territorial marking, re-establishing safe pathways, advertising their sexual state, and even to defend themselves. Join Conan Dumenil for a dive into this underappreciated and understudied topic as we learn how to interpret valuable information from what animals leave behind. Using examples from rhinos, elephants and whales, participants in this entertaining webinar will learn how to read signs revealed in spoor, scat and spray.


Originally presented December 20, 2021
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