An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Mystery Photo

mystery photo 154This frozen object was discovered in mixed woods, on top of the snow. Hint: it measures between 6 and 7 inches long, and is about 4 inches wide. It weighs approximately one pound and contains tiny wood fibers. All guesses welcome under “comments.”

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

57 responses

  1. carol stanley

    beaver poo?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:11 am

  2. Tina

    I’m thinking that it is from a bear as well (bear fecal plug).

    March 5, 2015 at 7:16 am

  3. Thea Lahti

    Beaver scat?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

  4. Rill

    Stomach contents of a deceased deer/moose?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:25 am

  5. Rob Anderegg

    Pinocchio scat

    March 5, 2015 at 7:28 am

    • Oh, this is definitely the winner of this mystery, Rob!!!!!!!!!!

      March 5, 2015 at 7:30 am

  6. Lucy Gatchell

    Late winter moose scat?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:32 am

  7. Jeannie

    Fecal Plug ?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:35 am

  8. Kathy Schillemat

    I am stumped. I like the Pinocchio scat idea though.

    March 5, 2015 at 7:36 am

  9. Suzanne

    I’ve never seen a black bear fecal plug in person, and it doesn’t seem like the wood fiber content is consistent with that, but wondering if that’s the answer. Do beavers do something similar?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:38 am

  10. David

    An Ursipine.

    March 5, 2015 at 7:38 am

    • Did you mean “ursapine”? I am afraid that the average age of this wonderful group precluded us from getting what you meant. It does look like a mega-beaver(can’t remember the prehistoric name)turd, doesn’t it! I had to google “ursapine” and even then it was hard to find a link. Stay with us, David, we are always willing to learn!

      BTW, I don’t have a clue what the mystery photo is! I’m still working on the pileated woodpecker and its curious drilling pattern from earlier in the week! Love you, Mary!

      March 5, 2015 at 11:23 am

  11. ELi & Tucker

    ELi guesses “bear scat”…?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:39 am

  12. Beth Miller Pittman

    bracket fungus

    March 5, 2015 at 7:43 am

  13. Moose manure?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:45 am

  14. Jennifer Wiley

    Mary, I’ve never commented before…and I know this is probably crazy…but all I can think of is a huge bear fecal plug…The only one I’ve ever seen is the one you have and I think it was much smaller. But maybe this one absorbed water? And is it too early for a bear to expel a plug?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:49 am

  15. Elaine Schmottlach

    Something ate a porcupine or a beaver and this part from the innards was rejected.

    March 5, 2015 at 7:54 am

  16. Tinka

    Containing wood fibers makes me think it had eaten sticks.
    A frozen, baby beaver?

    March 5, 2015 at 7:57 am

  17. Ben


    March 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

  18. taylor

    Bear fecal plug

    March 5, 2015 at 8:01 am

  19. Midge

    Bear fecal plug?

    March 5, 2015 at 8:02 am

  20. Jean Bergstrom

    Stomach of a snowshoe hare?

    March 5, 2015 at 8:03 am

  21. Connie Youngstrom

    I think it ‘s a bear fecal plug.

    March 5, 2015 at 8:12 am

  22. Marilyn

    A fungus that fell off a tree

    March 5, 2015 at 8:14 am

  23. Kathie Fiveash

    Maybe something a pileated woodpecker knocked loose when drilling for carpenter ants? Or a plug created by ants inside a pileated hole, again knocked loose? Seems like something that filled a cavity.

    March 5, 2015 at 8:30 am

  24. barbara

    Deer liver or stomach?

    March 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

  25. Bill On The Hill...

    Frozen moose turd… :~)

    March 5, 2015 at 8:38 am

  26. This is a tough one… I’m still stuck on Pinocchio scat and I can’t think… maybe part of a rotting tree cavity? part fungus part tree? I don’t know, Pinocchio scat makes the most sense… I mean, he’s out there now that the temps are warming up.

    March 5, 2015 at 8:45 am

  27. Suzanne

    I’m (in addition to the bear fecal plug guess) intrigued w/ the idea of its being some kind of large-ish prey animal’s stomach that was dragged away from the rest of the carcass by somebody thinking of it for a meal, but then rejecting it b/c what self-respecting scavenger wants a stomach full of wood chips?

    March 5, 2015 at 8:57 am

  28. Richard

    a deer rumen

    March 5, 2015 at 9:02 am

  29. Heidi

    I agree with the bear fecal plug — I don’t think you would find Pinocchio scat in mixed forest this time of year.

    March 5, 2015 at 9:07 am

  30. Is it something made by an insect, or a colony of insects? Maybe the work of wasps or ants? 7″x4″ seems large for a fecal object, even for a bear.

    March 5, 2015 at 9:08 am

  31. Sally

    I think bear.

    March 5, 2015 at 9:10 am

  32. Mandy

    My first guess was porcupine poop, but I suppose it’s way too large for that. Hmm…while I am generally supportive of the idea that whatever it is came out of the back end of a mammal, I’m hopeful that it could possibly be something created by insects that fell from a tree.

    March 5, 2015 at 9:20 am

  33. david putnam

    bear plug

    March 5, 2015 at 9:35 am

  34. Nicole Cormen

    Pinocchio was tempting, but I’m with Rill, Barbara, & Suzanne. I think it’s a deer stomach, perhaps the rumen? FWIW, bear fecal plugs are smaller and would not contain much if any wood.

    March 5, 2015 at 9:54 am

  35. Galen

    Almost looks like a piece of intestine, esp. the little coil on the lower right. Something to do with a waking bear?

    March 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

  36. Al

    I immediately thought “contents of deer stomach”, as I’ve seen such things at sites where deer have been killed by predators. I see others have thought of that as well. Intrigued by the idea of the contents of a hole in a tree, but it seems too smooth for that (stomach contents I’ve seen have been smooth, molded by the stomach tissue), and why would it stick together unless it was wet? Were there other deer remains nearby?

    March 5, 2015 at 10:02 am

  37. Justin Burrows

    Well, when that bear did what they are so notoriously noted for doing, the rest of its day must have been fantastic.

    March 5, 2015 at 10:07 am

  38. Laura and Alice

    Alice and I believe it is moose pellets smashed together for some reason.

    March 5, 2015 at 10:18 am

  39. Robyn Deveney

    I’m in the stomach contents camp – my first thought was of a porcupine that was eaten by a fisher. There seems to be a bit of tissue remaining from the stomach lining. It’s in the woods in winter, which probably rules out beaver.

    March 5, 2015 at 10:35 am

  40. richard hocker

    Bear Fecal plug

    March 5, 2015 at 11:01 am

  41. Chris Murray

    Bear poop from an early riser, or beaver poop from a giant beaver, or part of a tree

    March 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

  42. Kathryn Dean

    black bear fecal plug

    March 5, 2015 at 11:18 am

  43. myra ferguson

    I immediately went to tree fungus of some sort. Then, I read the comments and had a wonderful chuckle with each one. You’ve made my day!

    March 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm

  44. Charles Roth

    possibly Beaver scat

    March 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm

  45. Deb

    Our dog recently found something similar-an piece of large intestine of a deceased animal that had been killed.

    March 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm

  46. karen

    logger fecal matter?

    March 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

  47. Bobbie Rausch

    I think it is a black bear fecal plug.

    March 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm

  48. David Keller

    Moose droppings

    March 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm

  49. Ron Willoughby

    A super sized moose nugget

    March 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

  50. Petrified baby hippopotamus.

    March 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

  51. Mimi

    It sure looks like a mummified baby hippo! But close inspection also shows a lot of green as in pine or hemlock needles. That, plus the wood fiber all rolled into a neat little package steers me toward thinking it’s the contents of a deer rumen or maybe moose. And the outside of the ‘package’ is peeling off. This is fascinating!

    March 5, 2015 at 5:39 pm

  52. pamela krout-voss

    bear plug

    March 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

  53. bob olney

    Deer/moose rumen sac

    March 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm

  54. Leslie

    A bear plug. It’s coming out of hibernation.

    March 6, 2015 at 7:05 am

  55. Pingback: Beaver Organs: Why make sauerkraut when you can ferment in your gut? « Partridge, Pine, and Peavey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s