Animal Droppings from Spain for ID

Hi all,

Jonny Hodgson sent me these poo pics and wondered what species dropped them. I thought maybe a hedgehog, a large lizard or maybe a large amphibian … all of which are in the area. Perhaps even a bird?

Anyone know?

He wrote

“We live in Extremadura in Spain. We left the house early this morning, noting the scat but did not get a photo of the intact scat and on our return, it had been disturbed.
It was basically two conjoined ‘dollops’, each about 25 to 30mm in diameter.
Apart from one beetle shell, the remains within the scat are almost 100% ant body parts.”
10 Comments
  1. cwjsmith 1 month ago

    Could it be Green Woodpecker ?

  2. Profile photo of Jonny Hodgson
    Jonny Hodgson 1 month ago

    I thought it could be because of the ants but the scat/dropping/pellet was more than 50mm long and about 30mm wide. Would bring tears to the eyes of a woodpecker!

  3. cwjsmith 1 month ago

    I agree but it can be 3 – 5 cm I assume long but would it have contracted in the heat ?

    I cannot think of anything here in Spain that would eat lots of ants.
    Saw the size at https://www.discoverwildlife.com/how-to/identify-wildlife/how-to-identify-animal-droppings/

    From the photos in Collins Guide to Animal Tracks and signs it looks similar but they are white on the outside

    • Profile photo of Jonny Hodgson
      Jonny Hodgson 1 month ago

      I would expect green woodpecker droppings to be thinner and more cylindrical but I agree, I can’t think of anything else that would eat solely ants.

  4. cwjsmith 1 month ago

    Were they winged ants? I have seen Black-Headed Gulls feasting on flying ants and they produce Pellets but normally one at a time I think.

    • Profile photo of Jonny Hodgson
      Jonny Hodgson 1 month ago

      No, not winged ants and in ten years, I have not seen a gull in the vicinity of the house.

  5. Profile photo of Vladimir Dinets
    Vladimir Dinets 1 month ago

    Lots of mammals eat ants. There is research by Reznikova et al. showing that they are a major food items for Apodemus mice, for example.
    In this case it is clearly mammal scat, too large for a rodent and too rounded for a mustelid or a hedgehog, so I’d say cat.

    • Profile photo of Jonny Hodgson
      Jonny Hodgson 1 month ago

      Thanks for the reply. That would limit my choices to domestic, feral or wild. Iberian Lynx are now once again present in Extremadura but not in this area yet.

  6. Profile photo of Stefan Greif
    Stefan Greif 4 weeks ago

    What about Little Owl? 5cm sounded a bit long, but if you say it were basically 2 stuck together… Pellets up to 4cm are ok for a Little Owl.
    They are very opportunistic and I could imagine that if an owl comes across an active nest on the ground it would go for it (especially if they are somewhat bigger ants). In a quick search I did actually find some mentioning of ants in their diet. Winged ants would make even more sense and some do specify that, but I could imagine normal worker ants just as well. The beetle shell would support that idea as well.

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