A fresh coat of snow ensures that, although we may not see them, we have evidence of animals wandering about. By looking at the characteristics of animal tracks, such as the number of toes, the presence of nails and the depth of the tracks, we can identify the species that left them.
Walking patterns also tell us a lot about the animal that left them. The distance and spacing of the tracks illustrate the animal’s movement and gait. Animals like deer, elk, coyotes and foxes leave a zig-zag pattern. These animals are known as ‘‘perfect walkers” because they place their rear feet in the tracks of their front feet. This allows the animals to conserve energy, especially when walking in the snow. Rabbits, squirrels and mice leave a bounding pattern with distance in between groups of tracks as they leap through the snow.
Visit us for a hike and see if you can identify the many friends roaming around the grounds at ALNC.
#PhenologyFriday #AnimalTracks @ Aldo Leopold Nature Center ...