How to Preserve Bigfoot or Saquatch Scat
for DNA Testing and Scientific Analysis

By David Claerr July 17, 2010

Courtesy  Bobbie  Short

Two Methods for Safe, Long-term Storage of Scat Samples from Bigfoot, Sasquatch or Skunk Ape

One of the common criticisms of Bigfoot/Sasquatch research by professionals in the scientific community is the lack of specimens of scat or fecal material from the creatures. This is a valid point: from scat samples the
DNA of the creatures can be extracted and analyzed. Studies of the creature's diets, data on habitats and foraging patterns, as well as other incidental yet important information can be obtained with comprehensive analysis of scat.

In the course of researching Bigfoot or Sasquatch here in Texas and in neighboring Arkansas and Oklahoma, I have found evidence such as footprints, nesting sites, hair and scat samples. The last time I encountered possible scat samples, in the vicinity of footprints, (2008), I did not have adequate means to collect and preserve them. Since then, I have researched methods that would be viable for use in field research.

Following are presented two methods for preserving scat, one simple and inexpensive, the other more involved and using somewhat more expensive materials.

The first method uses readily available, common materials, and is based on methods used to collect bear scat for analysis.

The second method was obtained directly from a professional biologist employed at one of the world's premier institutes for primate studies, who generously responded to my request. The method is employed to gather specimens for DNA extraction and genetic sequencing of primates. It was instumental in the scientific classification of the recently discovered "Giant Chimpanzees" (gorilla-sized) in the African Congo.

The first method is as follows:

Purchase some Denatured Alcohol, which is available in quarts or gallons at just about any hardware store. Denatured Alcohol is about 95% ethyl alcohol, with a few additives. Next, get a glass jar big enough for a cross-section of the scat- a canning jar is probably about the right size and will give you a good seal. A well-washed-out mayonnaise or peanut butter jar, sterilized by boiling water, will work as well. (Make sure you always wear plastic medical gloves when handling the materials or the scat.) Use wooden tongue depressors, which you can purchase at drugstores, to divide and/or pick up the samples. (They are sterile and DNA-free) Otherwise, a pair of sticks will do, just dip them into the alcohol first.

Place the scat sample in the jar and then slowly pour in the alcohol until it is covered. If it floats up a little, that is acceptable. Then cover the jar and let it set overnight. The next morning, pour out about half the alcohol and then secure the lid back on tightly. This will preserve the contents indefinitely, although the DNA will very slowly degrade. I would recommend keeping a few filled jars like this for any samples: nails, tissues, hair, etc.

The following is the second method used by many professional biologists for their field research. This is a two-step process, not difficult if you can get the materials.

The materials are usually stocked in medical supply houses and by scientific equipment suppliers. If you don't have access to them in your area, another option is to order them on-line- (links are included in the Resource section below.) They tend to be a bit more expensive.

You need two tubes or vials for each specimen. Biologists often use 50ml centrifuge tubes which are about 1 1/4 inch in diameter and are 4 or 5 inches long. They come with caps supplied.

You will need a supply of 95% ethanol (ethyl alcohol). (The other 5% is water.) You can sometimes buy this at the larger drugstores. It is often called Pharmacy-grade ethanol. (Denatured alcohol also works but not as well) Another material required is Silica Gel beads or grains. Sometimes it is stocked in large retail chain stores. (Silica is commonly used to absorb moisture in food products.)

Wooden tongue-depressors are recommended to cut and handle the scat- they are disposable and sterile. You will also need a piece of facial tissue or paper towel. Use clean tweezers or fresh tongue depressors to handle the paper.

Here is the two-step process:

Step 1:
First fill one of the tubes about three-fifths (30ml) with the ethanol.

Next, add a ball of scat about 1-inch in diameter.

Cap the tube and let it set overnight.

Step 2:
The next day, fill the other, empty tube with Silica Gel, about 4/5ths full.

Place a piece of paper towel or facial tissue the width of the tube, on top of the silica gel inside the tube.

Then loosen the cap of the ethanol-filled tube to a small crack, enough to slowly pour off the ethanol, on to the ground. If you lose a bit of dissolved scat, that is acceptable.

Place the ball of scat on top of the paper inside the tube that has the Silica Gel. Cap the tube and store it in an upright position. That's it, you're done.

The Silica absorbs fluids and moisture, leaving a fairly dry and well-preserved specimen. Of course, the fresher the scat, the more likely it is that DNA can be recovered.

If you have a high level of confidence in the origins of the samples, you may then consider submitting them to a certified DNA laboratory for analysis.

Refer to the links in the resource section below for purchasing the materials online.

Silica Gel:

If the links above don't work you can search for the products on
Fisher Scientific Supply's site: