Friday, January 11, 2013

More Tracks in the Snow

A track and fur in the snow

Yesterday I looked at the tracks that a mouse left as it hopped through the snow.  Today's tracks are much different. There are several footprints from the one animal in this picture.  Near the top edge of the picture there is one track partially filled in with snow.  Nearly straight down from this there is one clear track with two toes visible - this track is on top of another track and mostly covers it.  At the bottom of the picture, directly below the clump of fur is another faint track.

So what animal made these tracks?

If I zoom in to the clearest footprint it should be easy to identify the animal that made these tracks.

Close-up of track

This track has several features that help us identify it.
  • It's deep, which means the animal that made it is heavy.  
  • It is an oval shape.
  • The front of the toes are pointed. 
  • It has only two toes visible. (It has hooves.)
The oval shape of the footprint shows me that this animal has a walking gait. 

The hairs that are with the track give us more clues.  The hairs are between 2 and 3 inches long.  They are gray-brown color.  They are very coarse.

In Mid-Michigan there is only one native species that could leave a track that looks like this.

This is the track from a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).  The length of the fur helps me tell that the deer is probably small - its tracks are less than 2.5 inches long.  The deer was probably less than two years old when this photo was taken.

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