Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Corprophagic Mouse

Posted by Kirk Mona
A couple of weeks back I mentioned an interesting find on one of our automated cameras. My co-worker Paul had wanted to capture photos of the raccoon using our back steps as a fecal depository. Raccoons are what we call Proud Poopers and they like to leave their waste in conspicuous spots. There were three photos on the camera that appeared blank. Here's an example.


It just looks like an empty shot of the stairs. We have the camera set to take three photos in rapid succession so there were three of these shots.  We scrolled between the photos to see if something moved. Even a leaf blowing across the stairs could trip the camera. We were surprised by what we found.
I complied the three frames into a little animation so you can see what tripped the camera.



A little mouse came to visit the stairs and have a little snack on the raccoon scat. It was likely picking out seeds. Perhaps a gross way to find food but fascinating none the less. Scat is a concentrated source of seeds and it isn't surprising that mice would seek out an easy source of food. The technical term is Coprophagy which literally means the eating of feces. It is quite common in the animal world. Bon appetit.

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