While tromping through the hills today, I cut through an olive orchard and headed down the well-trodden path, only to stop at the sight of a poop on the trail. Something in it had caught my eye. And because yes, I am the kind of person who pokes poop apart with a stick, I soon determined that what had caught my eye was an olive pit. There were half a dozen in there, it turned out.
All the way home I was trying to figure out what would eat whole olives. It had looked like a carnivore poop, or at least an omnivore one. Definitely not an herbivore poop.
Javali, or wild pig, seemed like the most likely animal to be munching olives off the ground. But I’ve seen what the landscape looks like after a javali has been through, and you can’t miss that kind of destruction. There was no sign of that in the orchard.
Fortunately, my wife is a zooarchaeologist and as such, she knows who eats what. She said “fox,” so I looked up fox poop in our mammal guide (every mammal ID guide worth its salt has line drawings of feces), and lo, that was it! Turns out that foxes eat all kinds of things, including fruits and vegetables. I’d never imagined them eating olives, but there you go. You learn something new every day.
I crossed paths with a fox. Cool.