What is pooping in my yard?

On three occasions in the last couple weeks, my dog has found and rolled in some shit. And I don’t mean shit in the figurative sense…I mean literal feces of some sort. This, I suppose, is not too surprising…it’s just what some dogs do. But what’s really driving me crazy is trying to figure out what might be leaving these piles in our yard.

The shit in question is always a loose pile of semi-solid goo, at least judging from the results of the dog smearing it out. It’s certianly not dry pellets that you might expect from a rabbit or deer. It’s a fairly large pile, a volume that’s more like what you might get from a larger dog than, say, a cat. Judging from the odor, it’s not from another dog, nor could a dog reasonably be visiting our yard.

This is a fenced backyard in a suburban Ohio neighborhood. I’ve never seen an animal bigger than a rabbit back there. The only animals I’ve seen in the yard are rabbits, squirrels, and opossums. I’d post a picture of the mess, but I’ve never been able to catch it before the dog does. And I’m sure the Internet is a slightly better place if I’m not posting photos of shit on it.

So, Dopers…what’s shitting in my yard?

Piss off any neighbors lately? Notice any of them consuming inordinate amounts of bran cereal?

The thought had occurred to me…but I must say that the smell isn’t really reminiscent of human excrement, either. Not that I fancy myself a dung connoisseur. If I did, I wouldn’t be asking the question.

Hmm. Deer don’t necessarily poop pellets…they get diarrhea too. And they poop a LOT, too. Is there a stray dog running in your neighborhood?

‘Who’s that pooping in my yard?
Who’s that pooping in my yard?
Who’s that pooping in my yard?’
Cried the fair young maiden!

Are there raccoons in the area? this page has some photos of raccoon scat.

We do have raccoons in the area. I’ve never seen one in my yard, but I’m also aware that they can be more aloof than other animals. And looking at the pictures on that linked page, it seems like it could be a pretty reasonable candidate for my offendor.

I think it’s time for a stakeout…with a .22 rifle.

So how do you know it’s even terrestrial in origin? We have rocks from Mars. Perhaps it’s other stuff from Mars as well?

Just sayin’ …

‘Meteor shit!’

I know it may be a somewhat obvious question, and perhaps you’ve ruled it out for some obvious reason, but is there the remote possibility that it might be your dog’s poop?


It was me…


Well, again, it doesn’t smell like dog shit. And we always pick up after her, so it wouldn’t be her own. And it’s not in the same area where she defecates. And if it were dog shit, she’d eat it instead of rolling around in it.

Nope, not hers…trust me.

I’m guessing raccoons. They can make an obscenely large pile.

Yeah, raccoons make the most sense given what I know. There aren’t a lot of other options when you get down to it. Now if I could just keep the dog away from it…she’s better at find the piles than I am, and has a different endgame in mind.

Goose shit is gooey, and can be quite stinky. And from my experiences at school (there is a couple lakes with resident geese) piles can get quite large.

ETA: Raccoon makes more sense though

Are you sure it’s legal to shoot raccoons where you are? It isn’t here. If you live inside city limits, it may be illegal to discharge a firearm at all.

I don’t know whether killing raccoons here is legal. However, I do know that discharging a firearm in my backyard is most certainly against the law. But in this case, I’d have to plead self-defense. I’m being attacked with shit here.

Not to aid and abet, but the chances of anyone even realizing that a .22 going off was gunfire are pretty slim. It’s a very weak little pop compared to what most people think guns sound like.

Does it look like this?

You could have your veterinarian do a fecal flotation (cost is $12 here). Baylisascaris is very common in raccoon feces. It is a roundworm of raccoons.

Years ago I would occasionally find dog poop in my fenced in yard. Either a dog jumped the fence or someone opened the gate because I don’t have a dog.

But if it’s smaller than a dog turd and looser I would 2nd a visiting goose. If they’re racoons then check your yard at night including trees. They will often keep their young in trees and if you discover this they will move on.