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Today I’m writing about poop! I almost stepped in it today on our walking safari. You could say that we had a special day, a Dung Pooh Day. I can’t remember all the names I heard for that stuff that everyone who eats has to get rid of: poop, pooh, dung, scat, castings, and droppings are the names I remember now. (Actually, I remember a couple others, but Nona doesn’t want me to say those.) Here’s what I almost stepped in.
Well, actually, the thing is so big that I almost walked into it. Yuck!
Do you know how many different kinds of poop animals make? Each kind of animal makes its own kind of scat (that’s a tracker’s word for animal poop). Here’s another one.
Do you know that, if you’re smart and well trained like our guides Chagamba and Mika, you can tell which animal made the pile of poop on the ground, how long ago, whether it was one or a group, and, maybe, what they’ve been eating. I guess you could say they “read dung.”
OK, hold your nose. Can you “read” what animal left this behind its behind? No? Hint, see how widely spread out these things are? Well, the source would have to be pretty high up to get that much spread. What kind of animal has really long legs?
By the way, it really didn’t smell much.
OK. Now, here’s a different kind of distribution of dung pooh. Look how close these little things have landed together? Well, that’s a hint that more than one animal pooped in the same place.
So, our guides said that this kind of poop pattern makes a “latrine.” (“Latrine” is another word for toilet room, I think.) There we were walking in a field going right through someone’s toilet! I think latrine sounds better than toilet, don’t you?
This long and tightly wound piece of dung is almost as long as an adult’s foot. Well, maybe half as long. What do you think?
Papa did step in it. He got some elephant dung on his hiking boots. He didn’t get it all off, and, when we got back to our room, Nona asked him, “Papa, did you just do something? What’s that smell.” That’s when he realized what was on his boot. Let me tell you elephant dung really smells awful. Still, I saw our guide Mika pick some up to “read” it. Yuck. Wish Nona had taken a picture of him doing that!
Here’s my last piece of pooh for today. These are small pellets but bigger than the dik dik pellets, right? So, maybe the animal that made these is small too but bigger than a dik dik. What animal of the Maasai Steppe would leave these?
Well, that’s the poop on dung. Next time you go walking in the woods or out in a field, maybe you’ll look for scat and try to identify the animal that left it. Nona and Papa said they have a book about scat at home, and I can use it when we get back. I’ll share it with you. Hey, we can play a game: Name That Dung Pooh! We could have a Dung Pooh World Series! OK?
I’m your friend.
- You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
- You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”