Have you ever been out in the woods and wondered what kind of animal left behind a certain type of droppings? Well, it turns out that there are some simple ways to tell the difference between rabbit poop vs. deer poop. With a few key characteristics like size, color, shape, and texture, you can quickly identify which game is nearby.
Whether you’re an avid hunter or just curious about which animals you have on your property, knowing the difference between rabbit and deer poop can be helpful information in a pinch.
Before we get into the details, here’s a quick rundown of the differences between the two.
|Characteristic||Deer Poop||Rabbit Poop|
|Size||Approximately 1/2 to 5/8 inches long||Approximately 1/4 to 3/8 inches in diameter|
|Color||Black or dark brown||Light brown to dark brown|
|Shape||Oval or cylindrical, often clustered together||Round or spherical, usually separate|
|Texture||Smooth, can be slightly moist when fresh||Hard and dry, feels like small pebbles|
|Smell||Mild, not very strong||Little to no smell|
|Frequency of Defecation||Several times a day, usually in the same area||Numerous times a day, often wherever they are feeding|
|Diet Indication||Plant matter, clear indication of what has been eaten (e.g., grass, leaves, corn)||Plant matter, difficult to discern specifics from droppings alone|
Why does animal poop matter?
Somewhat of an odd topic, for sure. Why would we even care about animal droppings?
There are a few reasons, but when it comes to hunting, using droppings is a quick way to identify and track where deer and rabbits have been (amongst other game as well). If you cannot discern between the two, you might be tracking one while hunting the other.
You’re probably thinking, “How hard can it be to spot the difference?”
After all, one animal is upwards of 150-200 lbs (sometimes over 200 lbs in the midwest states), and the other is just a few lbs.
Surprisingly, it’s actually not as easy as you’d think. Rabbit and deer poop look very similar. They both consist of small nuggets that are cylindrical in shape and dark brown or black in color. But there are a few key differences between these two poops.
Differences in size between deer droppings and rabbit pellets.
The first difference you may or may not notice is the size. Standing a distance away, both deer and rabbit droppings will look very close to the same size. However, once you get a little closer, you’ll see that rabbit droppings are a bit smaller.
Deer droppings are much larger than rabbit pellets, which can be anywhere from 1/2″ to 3/4″ in length. Of course, they can be a bit smaller as well. The size really depends on the size of the deer and the deer’s diet.
As for the rabbit poop, these are about half of what an adult deer’s droppings are. In fact, rabbit pellets tend to be around 1/4″ in size.
Based on size alone, it’s easy to see why someone would get the two mixed up.
Despite the size disparities between deer and rabbit poop, there are still a few other ways to distinguish them.
Color differences in rabbit poop vs. deer poop.
If the deer poop size doesn’t help you, another distinguishing factor is the color. The only downside to this is that the color is very similar as well and is greatly affected by the animal’s diet. So yes, there’s a chance that deer and rabbit poop are identical in color.
Under most circumstances, you’ll notice that deer poop color is much darker. It’s almost like black, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it’s most likely a dark brown color. Sometimes it’s so dark that the deer poop pellets are hard to detect when you’re on the trail.
As for the coloring, you’ll see that a healthy rabbit scat is a little lighter in color. It’s still brown but more of a dark tan. Keep in mind, however, a wild rabbit may come across some darker berries, which will make the rabbits pellets darker to the point they resemble deer dung.
Shape is similar in rabbit poop vs. deer poop.
The shape of the animal’s poop is what trips up most hunters when they find deer droppings or rabbit poop. Both are very similar in shape.
Deer pellets are near perfectly round or slightly oblong. Almost as if they’re a small black or dark brown marble. Of course, this makes the deer feces settle to the ground below vegetation much easier and therefore makes them harder to track.
While initially, rabbit poop may look similar to that of a deer’s, generally, they’re not as rounded. Rabbit pellets tend to hold their cylindrical shape and can be much skinnier than a deer’s scat.
Just like the color and the size, the shape of the scat is largely dependent on the diet. Deer and rabbit scat can both be affected by the diet, but it’s more typical to see rabbit scat get affected more. That is because their digestive system isn’t as strong in forming the shape of the poop as a deer’s digestive system.
So when a rabbit eats a small berry, the rabbit droppings may take the shape of the berry.
Differences in texture in rabbit poop vs. deer poop.
Wouldn’t you know it — both deer and rabbit poop have a very similar texture as well!
If you’re able to get close enough, you’ll notice that rabbit droppings have a softer, almost crumbly texture. Deer scat, on the other hand, tends to be harder and denser. The difference in textures is largely due to the strength of each animal’s digestive tract.
Sure, both rabbits and deer eat vegetation, but deer have a much stronger digestive tract that helps break down the food and squeeze out every bit of nutrition. This is why their droppings are usually harder than that of a rabbit.
Rabbit poop can also be very wet in texture because rabbits tend to eat a lot of sugary fruits and vegetables. As a result, their droppings can be quite damp or sometimes crumbly.
How to quickly identify rabbit vs. deer poop.
As an avid hunter, I’m always trying to track down various game whether that’s deer, rabbit, or some other animal.
What I’ve found when I’m out in the woods is that size and color are two of the most important things when it comes to identifying rabbit vs. deer poop. These are the characteristics that really stand out when you’re working a game trail.
If I’m unable to quickly identify the scat, then I might have to take a closer look and note the shape and texture.
Questions and answers about rabbit poop vs. deer poop.
That’s about it when it comes to deer pellets and rabbit droppings. However, you might still have some questions. So here’s a full rundown of some of the most common questions about rabbit poop vs. deer poop:
Is it possible to mistake one for the other?
Absolutely! As mentioned before, size, color, and shape are all highly similar between a deer dropping and a rabbit pellet. However, if you pay close attention to the texture and inspect it closely enough, you will be able to tell the difference between the two.
What does rabbit poop look like?
Rabbit scat is roughly 1/4″ – 1/8″ in size and often is a light brown color. It’s cylindrical in shape but can have a slightly crumbly texture depending on the food they eat.
What does deer poop look like?
Deer feces is near perfectly round or slightly oblong and is typically between 1/2″ – 3/4″ in diameter. Deer droppings tend to be a darker brown color and have a harder texture.
Does rabbit poop or deer poop have a smell?
It does, but it’s not that strong, nor is it a pungent smell. Even fresh feces from both animals is hard to smell unless you put your nose right up to it – which I don’t advise. There are a few reasons for this. For one, a strong smell could alert potential predators. Additionally, both of their diets are plant matter which is high in fiber and not that strong of a smell.
Does rabbit poop and squirrel poop look similar?
Not quite. Squirrel poop looks mostly like rat or mouse poop. It’s substantially smaller pellets than other animals and elongated. Of course, due to the fact that their diet mostly consists of nuts, the coloring, and texture is a little different as well.
Now you know the difference between rabbit poop vs. deer poop!
The next time you’re out tracking a mule deer or a hare, you’ll know the difference in their dung. As you spend more time identifying the animal droppings, you’ll be able to quickly notice deer poop pellets or rabbit poop.
Of course, all of this is helpful knowledge for any hunter, as knowing which animal is in the area can help you plan your hunt accordingly.