The wolf is an apex predator from the genus Canis and the family Canidae. They bear the scientific name “Canis lupus” and can be found on most continents of the world. There are about 40 wolf subspecies, with the gray wolf being the most popular/recognizable one. They often move in packs and are renowned for their top-shelf predatory skills. Like most mammals, wolves eat quite a lot and they poop as well. Since they are wild, aloof, and dangerous animals, it is no surprise that most people have no idea what wolf scat looks like. In this article, we’ll be going into some details about wolf poop including what they look like and what dangers they pose, if any. Stay tuned.
What Does Wolf Poop Look Like?
The appearance of wolf poop may differ, depending on the wolf’s most recent food. Generally, wolf poop has a somewhat cylindrical shape with pointed ends. Length varies between 6-17 inches and the exact figure depends on how much they’ve had to eat. The diameter also ranges between 0.5-1.5 inches.
Wolf poop looks very long and coiled with one of the ends being tapered and the other being rounded. The color could either be brownish-gray or dark brown but it could look somewhat black when it is still fresh and moist. After 24 hours or less, the poop often becomes whitish in color.
Wolf scat gets drier with time and they often contain bones, hides, and other undigested fragments from their prey.
Why Is Wolf Poop So Big?
Wolf poop is somewhat similar to that of some other animals like dogs, given its long, tubular shape. Their poop looks big mainly because they consume large amounts of food. We are talking about at least 5-7 pounds of meat daily.
How Do Wolves Poop?
Like most other mammals, wolves poop by lowering their butts to the ground and releasing feces from their anuses. Digestion starts in the mouth where they crush and swallow the food, which then passes through the esophagus and gets dropped in the stomach. It would then pass through the liver where acid is neutralized and enter the small intestine for a proper breakdown of fats and protein. The colon processes the waste products which are eventually expelled through the anus. Interestingly, this is very similar to the digestive system obtainable in human beings.
Where Do Wolves Poop?
Wolves have the astute ability to make a den for themselves which could be in rock caves, hollow trees, deep riverbank hollows, or soil excavations. One would expect them to poop near their dens like some other animals do but wolves don’t do that. They typically poop in places far away from their dens. This is not simply a hygienic effort; it is a smart move by wolves to avoid getting infected by the parasitic eggs present in their poop.
They also use their scat as a way of communicating with other packs. They do this by dropping multiple scats in the same area.
Does Wolf Poop Smell?
Wolf poop has a lot of similarities in shape and size with dog poop and that makes sense considering they are carnivores from the same family. Wolf poop has a characteristically pungent smell that takes over an area and persists for up to 8 hours. If you are close to a wolf scat, no one would have to tell you that something putrid and malodorous is somewhere around you.
How Often Do Wolves Poop?
Considering wolves can go up to 12 days without eating, it is assumed that they can also go multiple days without having to poop. It is, however, believed that wolves poop at least once every two days, and in some cases, if they eat so much in a day, they may poop multiple times that day.
What Do Wolves Eat?
We’ve said so much about wolves’ food and how consequential it is to their scat. The question then begs “What exactly do wolves eat?” Wolves have a strictly carnivorous diet and one wolf typically eats more than a dozen pack animals every year. They often hunt and eat other fleshy animals like deer, elk, sheep, goats, and bison. Since they almost always hunt in packs, they prefer big animals. However, if the hunt for large prey proves abortive, they may also settle for smaller ones like rabbits, hares, raccoons, mice, and beavers. On rare occasions, wolves may also settle for plants and vegetables if they are in need of certain nutrients or can’t seem to find any prey animals around.
Is Wolf Poop Harmful?
It goes without saying that wolves are very aggressive animals and they are not to be crossed as they could inflict serious injuries and even death. However, besides the physical hurt they can inflict, wolves also pose a danger to humans as they are known carriers of a plethora of parasitic diseases, some of which can be gotten through contact with their poop.
One of them is the Hydatid disease, also known as Echinococcosis, which can be contracted by handling, inhaling, or eating wolf poop. Possible symptoms include cough, swollen abdomen, jaundice, stomach upset, and unprovoked weight loss, among other discomforting signs.
The best way to protect oneself from this disease and any other one is by staying away from wolves as much as possible. If for some reason you have to handle wolves and their poop, you should wear gloves/masks and take hand washing very seriously.
Is There A Difference Between Wolf Poop And Fox Poop?
Wolf scat and fox scat come in similar colors and shapes and both are often mistaken for dog poop. However, wolf poop is slightly larger and longer than fox poop and the latter has a more twisted structure.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Michal Ninger/Shutterstock.com
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- Animal Hype, Available here: https://animalhype.com/facts/wolf-scat-identification/#What_does_wolf_poop_look_like
- National Library of Medicine, Available here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19901399/