HelenC's picture

Stoat spraint

Observed: 7th June 2011 By: HelenC
Close up

Found on a mossy boulder, beside a freshwater stream.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


the naturalist man's picture


Interesting, this animal has eaten a small bird, considering where you are and their size, possibly a meadow pipit? There are feathers and hollow bones in the spraint/scat.

Don't go by the size, spraints can come in lots of different sizes from the same animal, let alone the same species.

I think we can rule out otter, perfect position for otter spraint but exclusively eating a bird? I doubt it I'd expect to see some fish remains but I can not distinguish any.

You are on the very northern edge of mink distribution so probably not that, though again perfect position next to a stream and looks right. Also very loose; could be because it's feathers rather than fur though?

Again it just does not look tightly packed enough to be stoat or weasel, also there is no sign of twisting.

Shame you did not smell it, that can be a good way of deciding. Otter smells of Jasmine tea and mink of tar. Stoats have a musty smell.

This brings us to one other animal, the fox. Vary small for a fox though looks like one; could be because of bird remains again? Fox has a strong musty odour, especially dog fox.

So where does that leave us? If I had to say one species then I'd rule out otter (size and content), stoat & weasel (very little signs of twisting); fox (size) and plump for mink, though to be certain I'd need to smell it and take it to pieces to check its contents.

Graham Banwell

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HelenC's picture


Thanks for taking the time to have a look Graham. Have taken commetns on board and will remember to have a good sniff next time!