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How to identify animal traces

The art of studying and identifying animal tracks is an exercise that goes back to ancient times when people rely on hunting and gathering to survive. Practice is currently used by hunters, hobbyists and professionals to monitor animal migration patterns, trace endangered species and better understand local wildlife. Traces are available in a variety of places and their identification is most easily done through an elimination process. Although the process can feel overwhelming at first, a little ingenuity, research and ability to interpret is all you need to easily identify tracks in no time. [1]

Edit Step

Edit Mocking mammalian traces

  1. Counting the toes. Note how many are on both front and rear feet. Felines, rabbits and rabbits all have 4 toes, while smaller animals like mice have 4 toes on the forefoot and 5 on the hind leg. Knowing the basics of the toes can help you eliminate many wrong opportunities right away. [2]
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    • Observe the shape of tears and note whether they are long or rounded.
    • Always check other tracks in the same area to confirm your results. It is common to get an animal's hind foot mixed with its front foot, so studying the other tracks will help you verify what you see. [3]
  2. Look for chlorine. If you can see chlorine in the web, note the size and shape. Some are large and blunt while others are thin and sharp. [4]
      Identifying Animal Tracks Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Animals that climb tend to have small claws and animals that dig have large stumps. [5]
  3. Check if the track is symmetrical. Picture a line down the middle of the track and compare the right and left sides. Usually, hooves are very symmetrical while other grooves are not. [6]
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    • For example, bears have large asymmetric traces of 5 toes. The front grooves are smaller than the rear grooves.
  4. Identify dog ​​tracks with oval shape and 4 toe prints. The dog slots also point forward, have a concave heel plate and visible claws. The front paws are larger than the hind paw. [7]
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    • Wolver has the largest dog tracks in a long time.
    • Coya print is smaller and narrower.
    • Fox print is fuzzy because of the hair in the paws and measures around.
    • Domestic dog prints have the same size and shape as wolves and coyote tracks. However, dog prints will zigzag more than wild animal prints, which tend to follow a straight line.
  5. Recognize feline traces with its rounded "M" shape. The 3-lap heel pads of cat animals are similar to a letter "M." The feline tracks have 4 toes and are about as large as they are long. Usually you do not see claws on cat traces. [8]
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    • Traces of berglion (or purse) are the largest cat traces, which measure about a long time.
    • Lynx tracks look very much like mountain leaves and are about the same size. However, they are less defined because of the coat around a pad's paws.
    • Bobcat tracks are similar to a coyote or fox, but are rounder and lack pianos. They are about a long time.
    • House cat prints are quite small – and do not follow the straight roads that wild animals do in general.
  6. Identify small mammals through their 5-sided prints. Many of the smaller mammals, with the exception of rabbits, have 5 toes. They range in size from. [9]
      Identifying Animal Tracks Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Some believe that raccoon prints look like baby hands, so if you see a trace that looks like a human model, it may belong to a raccoon. Both prints have 5 toes, but the front is smaller than the rear.
    • Opossum tracks are quite similar to raccoon tracks. However, the traces of their hind feet clearly show their opposite thumbs.
    • Otter courses are wider and are usually found on muddy river banks. Otters have partly bed feet and short claws.
    • A skunk's front and rear feet are of the same size, unlike many other mammals. They have 5 toes and visible claws.
    • Rabbits stagger their feet, leading to Y-shaped grooves. Unlike the other animals in this group, rabbits do not have 5 toes.
  7. Tip head groove with its distinct 2-point shape. Hovar is generally symmetrical. Depending on the animal, the grooves may be round, heart-shaped or square.
      Identifying Animal Tracks Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Moose has the greatest prints on. They are heart-shaped, deep and sometimes show clumsy marks.
    • Bison has round prints that are wider than other animals. Usually they are long.
    • Loved tracks are similar to moose tracks but are less like. They also have round toes that are not so tapered on the tips.
    • Deer tracks show 2 different toes and a small dot shape under each toe. They are slightly angled away from each other and measure again.
    • Bighorn sheep tracks look like deer tracks but are smaller and less pointed. They have a more blocky shape and more straight edges.
    • Wild boar traces also look like deer tracks. They are about the same size but have rounder, wider toes. The deaf claw is also present in his prints.
    • Mountain lace grooves are V-shaped and much smaller than head animals such as elk or deer.
  8. Recognize that rodent prints have 4 toes at the front and 5 at the back. Each rodent has a distinct trace, and the only thing they have in common is the number of toes on each foot. [10]
      Identify animal traces Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Beavers has flippers. Look for beavers near rivers. The tracks from their feet often cover their feet, and the tail can remove any traces of either!
    • Porcupine prints often only show the foot on their feet and they are pigeon, so the grooves point inwards. Sometimes you can see an impression of their tail along with their prints.
    • Mice have larger hind legs than their feet. Their tracks show 4 small feet and sometimes a tailcoat.
    • The squirrel also tracks 4 prints. Their hind legs are around and their feet are. Squirrels tend to jump and move from tree to tree.

Edit Identify bird paths

  1. Note the habitat where the tracks are found. Birds tend to live in specific habitats depending on their particular needs. Ducks will often be located near the water, perching birds usually live near forests and game birds as open spaces. Study the area around the bird paths to help limit the opportunities. [11]
      Identify animal tracks Step 9.jpg
    • Since bird pathways look so similar, the best way to figure out which bird the print belongs to is to assess the habitat and find out which species covered by the area.
  2. See if the tracks change or are in pairs. Birds that live mainly on the ground, such as turkeys, have alternating tracks. Conversely, tree dwellers leave birds, including crows, couples, as they jump on the ground. [12]
      Identify animal traces Step 10 Version 2.jpg
  3. Identify classic tracks with their Y shape. Classic tracks (also called anisodactyl) have 3 toes pointing forward and a long toe pointing backwards. The most common birds in this category are pigeons, ravens, ears, hawks, crows, grouse and perching birds. [13]
      Identify animal tracks Step 11 Version 2.jpg


  4. Spot game bird tracks with their 3 different toes. Game bird tracks are similar to classic bird paths, with the exception that the hind leg is smaller or non-existent. [14]
      Identify animal traces Step 12.jpg
  5. Recognize webbed tracks in their broad form. Webbed (or palmate) tracks have forward-facing toes that are webbed and outer toes as curves slightly inward. The most common birds in this category are ducks, geese and gulls. [15]
      Identify Animal Tracks Step 13.jpg
    • Totipalm tracks have webbing between all 4 toes. These tracks usually belong to pelicans and other birds living in the sea.
  6. Identify zygodactyl traces at its 4 tears. Zygodactyl traces have 2 toes pointing forward and 2 pointing backwards. A slightly less common track, these belong to roadrunners, cuckoos, owls and woodpeckers. [16]
      Identify animal traces Step 14.jpg

Edit Identify reptile and amphibious traces

  1. Note the size of the tracks. While lizards typically leave behind the same type of groove, the size may vary considerably depending on the particular species. Measure the length and width and then refer to different wilderness sizes if you think you have found reptile traces.
      Identify animal traces Step 15.jpg
  2. Determine whether the grooves are inward or near water. Depending on the type of reptile, the understanding of the track will help you make determinations. Some reptiles like iguanas prefer dry areas and others like alligators will usually be near water.
      Identify animal traces Step 16.jpg
  3. Spot alligator traces at its 5 toes. Alligator tracks are rarely incorrect for other tracks – you can see 5 toes in the front tracks and 4 in the back tracks. They will also have a scaled look. These tracks are much larger than most other reptiles. [17]
      Identify Animal Tracks Step 17.jpg
    • The Alligator's tail leaves a large trough between its prints.
  4. Recognize lizard and salamander tracks from their tails. Lizard and salamander grooves are usually identified more easily from their tails than footprints. Their tail leaves clear lines and will often follow with blurred foot marks on each side. [18]
      Identify animal traces Step 18.jpg
    • Salamander tail grooves move from side to side while lizard tail tracks are much louder.
  5. Note that snake tracks look like spots. Since snakes do not have feet, they do not leave traces in the same way as other animals do. You can see small dirt or continuous S-shaped prints in the sand or dirt. [19]
      Identify animal tracks Step 19.jpg
  6. Identify the turtle tracks through their continuous line. Turtles take steps that are very close together, resulting in a continuous track on each side of the body. They look like steps and have big claw marks and 5 toes on both feet. [20]
      Identify animal traces Step 20.jpg
    • Sometimes only 4 toes are visible in the back sides.
  7. Spot frog and toad track with its "K" shape. Both animals have 4 toes at the front and 5 at the back. Often, the front feet land between the hind legs. Sometimes you can see the frog or toad's stomach impressions in the tracks. [21]
      Identify Animal Tracks Step 21.jpg

Edit Tips

  • ] Using a reference guide is the easiest way to identify animal tracks. Search for an online listing of identifying features and include photographs of tracks from different animals found in your region. [22]
  • Getting to know the species that are native to your area can be a great help when you need to identify animal tracks. This will help limit the number of opportunities and often help you make a quicker decision. [23]
  • Measurement of the tracks can help you determine which animal they belong to. Hold a flexible measuring tape in your pocket or package to help with identification. [24]

Edit Related wikiHows

  • Track animals

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