Track It!

All, Nature Academy

Snowy winters can be a great time to get outside and see wildlife. Although some animals are less active in the winter, one advantage to the season is the ability to track their movements in the snow. It’s also a fun reason to get outside in the winter while keeping your mind off the cold. Animals are known for being elusive and leaving without a trace, but in snow they just can’t help themselves. Even if you don’t get to see them, you can always tell where they’ve been.

There are a few key indicators used to determine the culprit of the track. It’s not always easy to tell, though. A single footprint itself is a great start, but it can be hard to determine the difference between a dog, coyote and fox. Size and walking patterns can help to narrow your options, too, but the surrounding environment can be a great additional indicator. Follow the tracks to see if they lead to shelter or a food source. A squirrel track, for example, will likely extend between trees.

Can you tell who made the following tracks in the Great Parks?

coyote prints

rabbit prints

David Koenig, Natural Resources Technician