Can You Identify These Tracks in the Snow?

When the snow falls in the Greater Hamilton Area and you’re enjoying the beautiful outdoors, you might come across various tracks from animals in the snow. As you’re walking, it would be helpful to know what kind of animals made those tracks. One of the easiest ways to determine the type of animal track is by looking at the pattern it leaves in the snow.

Can you identify these tracks in the snow commonly found in the Greater Hamilton area?

This information will help you identify what kind of animal tracks you see in the snow.

Pace Pattern

This kind of track is left by animals that almost seem to waddle when they walk, shifting the weight of their bodies from side to side. What is kind of neat about this pattern is that it looks like it is a random and not even really a pattern, but it’s recognizable. These animals will have significant, soft padded feet that allow them to walk through the woods quietly and relatively undetected. The animals you can expect to see from these tracks around the Hamilton area are ones like beavers, skunk, porcupine, and raccoons.

Diagonal Pattern

To recognize this pattern, you will have to stand back and try to imagine a line going down the center of these tracks to see where the diagonal comes from. For these animals, they move their front right leg and left rear leg together, and then the front left and rear right when they’re walking. The animals that typically leave diagonal tracks include deer, coyote and foxes.

The shape of the feet of each animal will be different: coyote, for example, have egg-shaped paws, cats foxes are more round, whereas deer will look more heart-shaped.

Bound Pattern

This pattern is less common than the others in the Hamilton area as there are fewer animals who leave it. Animals whose tracks resemble this bounding pattern are from the weasel family, fishers and mink. The animal themselves will have a long body with short legs and usually five toes on each foot. When they move, the front feet will hit the ground together, followed very closely by the back feet, so you’ll often see the tracks very close together.

Gallop Pattern

What is interesting about this pattern is that it comes from animals you don’t necessarily expect to be galloping. Animals like mice, voles, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits will leave this galloping pattern. What makes this pattern unique is that the animals tend to have larger rear feet than front, and when they move, the two front feet will land close together while the rears will tend to be wider apart.

Trail Width

Once you determine which kind of pattern you’re looking at, you can measure the trail width to better narrow down which species within that category you’re looking at. The bigger the animal, usually, the larger the width will be because the animal will have bigger paws and/or a longer stride.

Identifying animal tracks can be a fun adventure for a family afternoon of hiking in the snow, but some animals can become real pests when they get in or too close to your home. If you think you have a problem animal that needs to be safely and humanely removed, contact Habitat Wildlife Control today.

2019-12-09T21:30:12+00:00 December 9th, 2019|