Well, ain’t that a pile of crap?

  • Last week, I was weeding one of my garden beds and discovered, what looked like, a large amount of droppings. There were hundreds of them- very tiny and reddish brown. I couldn’t identify the source of said droppings, so I ran inside to get Adam. He came out, sort of shrugged it off with an “I don’t know” and went back inside. I was concerned that maybe it was some sort of bug damage since it was on the outside of our detached garage. I made a mental note to call someone about it.

    Then, on Sunday morning, I was out taking care of another garden bed, where I discovered several scattered piles of these same droppings. At this point, I begin to really freak out. What the hell is crapping in my gardens?!? Again, I went inside to get Adam, who again shrugged it off, “I don’t know, Jen. I really don’t know.” I proceed to freak out, “Well, call someone about this! I am not happy about some random critter(s) leaving droppings all over the yard. What if we have a mass infestation?!?” Adam does not have a lot of patience for my rants. I am not exactly rational when it comes to things like rodents, etc. I verge on seriously neurotic at times. Anyhow, I immediately take to the internet again, looking up all sorts of images of random fecal matter. What a way to spend a Sunday morning, huh? I could not find anything that looked like what we have in our garden beds. The animal is definitely smaller than a squirrel. It leaves hundreds of droppings in piles. And, the droppings are reddish brown and not black. This basically rules out mice, rats, squirrels, bunnies, and bats. Finally, Adam called a pest company and set up an appointment for Monday afternoon.

    So, yesterday the dude from the pest control company shows up. He follows me to the gardens and inspects the situation. He has no idea what it is! Seriously?!? He tells me that he has worked in the pest industry for 10 years, and prior to that, he worked for the department of wildlife for 5 years. He has never come across this before. Can you believe that? He did agree that it’s droppings, though. He suggested I call the Cornell Cooperative Extension to see about bringing a sample in. He then, sensing my neurotic ways, offered to inspect the interior of my house for any signs of pests. Thankfully, he did not find anything. He asked me to give him a call when I figure out what’s leaving the droppings.

    Well, I just got off the phone with the co-op, who directed me to another local agency that specializes in environmental education. I called this agency, and the gal requested that I email her a photo of the droppings, and they will investigate. So, I am going to do that. (By the way, incredibly awkward to make a call that starts with, “uhh… I’d like someone to help me identify some droppings I’ve found in my yard.”)

    Basically, for the time being, all I can say is, “Well, ain’t that a pile of crap?”

    Here are two photos- in case you are a) curious b) disgusted, but still curious c) have any idea what the hell is crapping in my yard.

    By the way, I am completely aware that this is not a joyous gardening post. The reality is- gardening can be dirty. The ecosystem is complex and not always beautiful. I will compensate with a prettier post tomorrow.

    * The follow-up post can be found by clicking this link: Well, ain’t that a beautiful pile of worm poo


    June 28th, 2011 | girl has thyme | 8 Comments | Tags: , ,

8 Responses and Counting...

  • Emily 06.28.2011

    Maybe it’s Gav’s Garden Gnome? I know, I’m not helpful!

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  • Actually, my vote is for the g-gnome’s pet doggy!

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  • I actually wonder if it’s some kind of fungus instead of droppings.

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  • We’ve thought it might be fungus, but it sure looks like droppings. The other thing that is odd is that it’s not in my vegetable garden or my main flower garden (yet).

    [Reply]

  • Amy

    Possibly some crazy worm casting/vermicast?

    [Reply]

  • Snail? Or some bug that is eating your bark and leaving that in its wake? Worm castings like Amy said…

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  • Hmm… I am beginning to wonder if it is something like that. There are just so many of them and I find more when I dig through the dirt. I am not usually one to freak out about bugs, etc. I just need to know what I am dealing with, you know? Thanks for all the input!

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    girl has thyme Reply:

    Ok, I am feeling pretty confident that you are correct, Amy. I think it is worm castings. Wow, I must have A LOT of worms! Which, is just super news! I am still awaiting confirmation from the experts that I sent the photos too. But, I did have reddish mulch under my garden beds when we first moved here. Perhaps, they are turning all that soil over. Yay! I’m so less creeped out about worms!

    [Reply]

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