I am a sometimes contributor to the UMass graduate student produced blog That’s Life Science and this post is another part in the series on water vole field work and biology. This is just a preview of the post; find the whole post at:
How do you count animals that don’t want to be seen?
By their poo of course! Counting poo is one way that ecologists can record information about animal populations that are hard to find, rare, or very secretive. Different animals have unique shapes and sizes of feces (or faeces) which can aid in identification. As part of my research I had found myself hiking in a way that resembles a mix of ungraceful falling and unsuccessful breakdancing across the uneven terrain of the Scottish Highlands.
Other studies have used droppings to count deer , tigers, and snow leopards or to locate penguins; but I was looking for a more dangerous beastie: the water vole. Arvicola amphibius is a small rodent that lives….
See the rest of the post here.