09 Jan 2019

Learn to recognize animal tracks in nature

Wild animals
Learn to recognize animal tracks in nature

It sometimes seems to be hard for hikers to distinguish animals from their tracks of passage. It is also a tricky task to find the best places to see the trace of their footprints while taking a tour. You may not see animal tracks in some parts of the land, but it is clearer and easier to find in some other areas. This article will teach you more about how to better recognize animal tracks in nature.

Learn which places are the best to look for animal tracks

This is the first and the most important step to start observing animal tracks. Don't waste your time walking through an area where it is impossible to see animal tracks, such as paved roads or hard-packed trails. Here are the best areas for the first step:

  • Dusty areas
  • In the sand
  • In the snow
  • In the mud, soft and trailside soil

Learn what the best time to look for animal tracks is

The best time mostly depends on the sun and the weather. The best time to recognize the passage of any kind of animals are in the early morning and in the late afternoon before it gets dark. That is when the trace looks clearer and easier to identify.

Strong sunshine at noon may be the enemy of this activity because the rough sun flattens and makes animal tracks harder to identify. In addition, the morning weather made by rainstorm or light snow in the previous afternoon is also perfect for discovering animal tracks.

Learn what the best methods to identify animal tracks are

After finding the tracks, get closer to it and keep it clearer from the shadow. Don't touch it, just look around and focus on the following points:

  • Think if the tracks are left only by an animal or a group of animals. Some species like bison and zebra may always walk in herds.
  • Observe how big the print is. You may be able to realize it by looking at the size of the footprints.
  • Are the footprints left by a claw, a paw or a hoof? This helps more about the animal species.
  • Compare the prints to identify if the forelegs and the rear legs have the same size or they look different. Some animals such as aardvark, rabbit have small forelegs and larger rear legs. Some animals like canine and feline have their feet the same.
  • If the prints have toes, count them. Species like canines and, rodents and felines have four toes, birds have three and most of other animals have five.
  • The manner of walking is also important. Different animals don't have the same gaits. This may be helpful for you to identify the species that have left the tracks.

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