Entries to Win Afghan

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Traffic Patterns

squirrel track

Here are more pictures from Ludington State Park on Saturday. Now the snow is too deep to take nice track patterns. So, Ellen was headed right to left, but who, of you readers, is still here from all the tracking lessons of the past winters? What critter left that other little track?

It's a dear little squirrel, headed from the bottom to the top of the picture. They "hop," not like a rabbit, but in the sense that they move both front feet and then both back feet. The back feet land in front of the front feet, leaving a track like this.
mixed animal tracks
Here's a busy scene! At the bottom is a squirrel. Which direction was he going? In the middle is one hoof print of a small deer, headed to the right.

And, at the top, a rabbit track. The rabbit also hops, and the large "bars" are made by the back feet, while the smaller ones are the front feet. But, again, each "set" has the back feet in front of the front feet. So the rabbit was traveling right to left.

porcupine tree

You've seen these before here, too. Remember what it is? It's a porcupine tree. All of that reddish-brown stuff at the base is poop. The porky likes a hollow tree with a nice open center for "plumbing."

skunk tracks

Finally, here is the mystery for this trip. I can't show you the context of this picture, but it was going up a rather steep hill. That will change the stride pattern, so all I have to go on is the tracks themselves. I think it's a skunk. I can tell you a lot of things it's not, including the porcupine.

Well, now I have another whole winter ahead to learn more about animal tracks!

See Our Common Mustelid


rainfield61 said...

If you go further, you may see the rat (Ratty) tracks.

Ratty said...

Tracking animals is the most fun thing of this time of year for me. The great thing about a blog is that we can track our progress on our tracking knowledge. After seeing my first tracks of this winter, and reading about tracks now, all of my previous knowledge is flooding back in. It all gives me so much enthusiasm to get back out there.

Ann said...

you came across quite a variety of tracks. I took a guess at squirrel even before you wrote it and I was right. Guess I was paying attention last year when you were telling us :)

Jackie said...

I wasn't a regular reader last year so I wouldn't have known.

Around here it is quite common to find mountain lion tracks. Of course there has to be snow or just after a rain fall when the ground is wet.

We have an abundance here. Actually they are over populated for this area and no longer have any fear of humans.

They come here trying to get my ducks and geese. Their tracks are very big. They also resemble a regular house cats paws except much bigger.

We have seen some that must weigh at least 60 to 80 lbs. jst playing in our yard.

They are beautiful but everyone in this area is afraid that one day we will hear that a small child has been dragged away.

That and packs of wild dogs is why I don't hike in this area.

I have a picture of one bobcat I took at night but the quality is terrible. But, I just might post it someday.

Thanks for taking us along on youe hike. I'm glad that skunk didn't sneak up on you!

Sharkbytes said...

rainfield- I "tracked" him down.

Ratty- I'm sure hoping to learn some new ones this winter, and to get better at the ones I've seen before.

Ann- Between Ratty and me, if you haven't learned that squirrel by now, we can't help it!

Jackie- we have bobcats, and some cougars that aren't recognized by the DNR, but they're all pretty shy.

Duxbury Ramblers said...

The Scottish Wildcat is our biggest cat unfortunately it is on the verge of extinction. It is slightly bigger than the domestic cat but it's nick name is the Tiger of the Highlands and the Scots are proud of the beastie, I would not like to have it cornered.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Ah, the patter of little feet.

RNSANE said...

I am as hopeless as I ever was when it comes to tracks, etc. I'm glad to leave it up to you guys. I guess I'd perk up a bit about it if forensics were involved for some reason.

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