Thylacine Poop.

Tiger at Beaumaris Zoo. Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office PH30-1-6817

We try and fit animals into categories we are familiar with, the thlacine is no exception, it has been called a wolf or more canine then wolf and/or cat like. The reality is it is none of these, it is a carnivorous marsupial unique to itself.

This rare photography is interesting as it shows a tiger from the rear. Its powerful rear legs are unlike anything outside of the marsupial family, given rise to its gait when moving fast. What is also interesting in the image is the scat. There has been a lot of argument on what does  thylacines scat look like? Here we can get some idea, though we have to take into account the diet of a captured animal verses one in the wild. Its a big pile. Scat sampling has been used in the passed by government expeditions as a way of determining whether the tiger is still roaming Tasmania. It is hoped that a sample will contain a hair from the animal grooming itself. The problem with this method becomes quickly apparent when in the field, Tasmania is covered in marsupial poop.  So then we try and narrow down the samples, devils contain bone fur/hair as they consume everything. It is believed that tigers did not eat bones, so we can dismiss a bony poop. A wombats scat is very easy to id, once you have seen the grassy pack you can never mistake it. Wallabies, pademelons can also be recognized, then it rains and prospective samples turn into mushy piles, add to this wild hog, feral dogs, quolls, boggy marsh and it becomes far from easy. Every large pile becomes a prospective sample.

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