Again, one of the little  “I love being a scientist” emails that I get via a listserver:

“We have been conducting a civet project in Indonesia for the past few years and are now looking at expanding our research. We are interested in looking into diet composition through faecal sample analysis, however scat has proved relatively elusive in previous years and so we are now investigating the possibility of using enemas to collect faecal matter. Useful reading matter on the subject has been relatively sparse and so I was wondering if anyone may have had some experience in this area and could offer some advice as to the best direction to proceed in.”

A response:

“Why not use the fecal sampling device vets use to check for worms?  I do not know its name, but it is basically a little plastic scoopy thing they shove in the dogs anus.”

Just a little early morning scatological humor :)

Related post:

Why I love being a Biologist

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. What timing! I was just working on civet fecal analysis myself!


  2. In my opinion, “little plastic scoopy thing” is a fine name for a scientific sampling instrument (in fact, if I ever branch out into manufacturing, I’m going to call the enterprise ‘The Little Plastic Scoopy Thing Company’)

  3. I thought this was gonna be a NEW variety of “extra-personal” parasite by mail order post.

    Civet cats, I happen to know, love coffee beans, so why not just feed them some and let nature take its course?

  4. How do you list “gave civets enemas” on a resume anyway?

    You just know this will be some poor grad student’s job. I suppose you would have to use action verbs…”skillfully administered…”

  5. I saw that too, and thought at first it was a joke. Until several responders put in their two cents as to how best to go about getting the sample of interest. Eww.

  6. It’s not just scientists that get fun jobs. I have to collect pig manure from time to time to check for parasites, while a farmer I know gets paid to count wild geese droppings in his fields. (Apparently, geese crap five times a day so if you count the number of droppings and divide by five, you know roughly how many geeze have been there)

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