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How well do you know your animal poo? Find out with this picture quiz

Can you match these pictures of poo to the animal responsible? This quiz from naturalist Chris Packham is a bit of fun – but you will learn some fascinating faeces facts along the way

Earth 14 December 2022

New Scientist Default Image

all images by Chris Packham

SPLATTED, splodged or squirted, strategically positioned or neatly coiled – a package of poop always comes with a message to be interpreted by the curious naturalist. At its simplest, it betrays which creature has been there. With practice, it will tell you much more. Under laboratory scrutiny, it tells us about the state and status of the individual, as well as information about the species as a whole that we may not otherwise know, such as its distribution, population and diet. It might sometimes be stinky, but excrement is always a font of knowledge. And at a time when every little thing counts in our struggle to save the world’s species, we can’t afford to turn our noses up at it. So let’s learn to love animal poo – starting with this quiz.

How to play

Take a look at the image above and try to work out which poop belongs to which animal. To make things a little easier, this quiz is multiple choice. Here are animals you can choose from:

  • Gentoo penguin
  • Bald eagle
  • Caterpillar
  • Snow leopard
  • Wild boar
  • Long-eared bat

Got your answers? Now scroll down to find out if you were right and for some fascinating facts about each of the animals and their poop.

New Scientist Default Image

Chris Packham

A. Gentoo penguin

This delightful dropping was left by the third largest species of penguin. Gentoo guano often comes in streaks because penguins create high pressures in their gut that shoot it a long distance. Researchers at Kochi University in Japan calculated that the pressure inside the rectum of a pooping penguin can reach 28 kilopascals – which is enough …

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