Thursday, December 18, 2008

Animal Tracks

Rabbit TracksRabbit Tracks

I set out on my new everyday adventure with a goal. I knew what I had to do. It was something I was planning since last summer. There were some specific photos that I had been waiting to get. Since the snow was now here, I was ready to get these pictures of some animal tracks.

The first thing I found were some rabbit tracks, or as Elmer Fudd would say, "Wabbit twacks!" I found these at the very front of the park, only a little way into the hiking trail. I have never actually seen an animal this close to the front, so I was more than a little surprised to see them.

I knew what these were right away, because I have seen rabbit tracks before. I learned several years ago what they were. Somebody that knew more about this kind of thing back then told me what they were. I was surprised that I knew what these were right away. I had forgotten all about learning what these were. It's amazing what a new discovery can bring up from the past.

It looks like the mark in the back was left by only one foot, but it's really both feet. When a rabbit hops around, it's back feet come down very close together. It's a simple explanation, but that's how it was explained to me, and it makes good sense. You can actually see two marks if you examine it closely.

Deer TracksDeer Tracks

Almost as soon as I saw the rabbit tracks, I came upon these deer tracks. Nobody ever taught me how to identify deer tracks. Somehow I just knew what kind of animal they belonged to the very first time I ever saw any. Maybe it's some kind of instinctive thing that's embedded into me from ancient humans. Wouldn't that be cool, if it was true?

I was even more surprised to see these deer tracks so close to the front of the park, than I was with the rabbit tracks. I've seen deer on these particular trails only three times, and each time it's only been one at a time. Two have been at the very back of the park, and one was at about the middle.

I got the best look at the one in the middle of the park. But it was long before I ever carried a camera with me, so I have no record of it. It was the first time I was ever able to try my technique on how to get close to a deer, and it worked like a charm. I was able to get close enough to touch it, but I didn't do it. I also used a subtle trick to make it move away from me.

Oh, back to the tracks. I followed these winter deer tracks all the way to the back of the park. They weaved in and out of the main nature trail. Sometimes they followed the man made trail, and sometimes they would leave the trail to move along the many deer trails that intersect these hiking trails. I even saw a few of these tracks on the bridge.

Squirrel TracksSquirrel Tracks

I didn't see any tracks like these squirrel tracks, until I reached the very back of the park. They're a little more difficult to see, because they're not very deep in the snow. I guess they step a little more lightly than the other animals. They are also very small. They're probably only about the size of a quarter.

I wasn't sure what these were until I did a little bit of research. I thought they probably belonged to a squirrel, but I wasn't quite sure. There are very many small animals in places like this, and back here there were a lot of tracks. I picked these particular tracks, because they were really some of the easiest to see of this kind, even with the large abundance of squirrel tracks back here.

I actually saw a few squirrels as I was walking back to the front of the park. They were too quick for me to get any photos of them though, so I decided to settle on just their tracks for now. I'm beginning to realize that I've had trouble getting photos of squirrels. I might have to go on a crazy squirrel hunt, like I did with the birds.

Dog TracksDog Tracks

I had to check these last tracks out before I said what they were. Like the squirrell tracks, I knew that these were made by a dog, but I wasn't 100% sure. This dog had some long claws. I wanted to be sure it wasn't a wild animal.

I really didn't think it could be another kind of animal, but I know there are coyotes and foxes around here. There were other dog tracks out here, so I knew that these were most likely only from a normal everyday pet dog. There is only one problem with that though.

At the entrance of the park there is a sign that says there are no dogs allowed. I've seen people walking their dogs here before. I don't really care if people bring their dogs here if they want to. As long as they keep them from disturbing the wildlife, I think it's okay. I think it's that risk that made them put up the no dogs sign. Dogs should be able to enjoy nature too.

Well, that's the end of my look at animal tracks for now. I took a look at some things from the interesting to maybe the absurd. They were all animal tracks I saw on this trip to my favorite nature trail. I wanted to show some human tracks too, but in the end I decided that it wasn't the right time for that yet. Who knows? Maybe one of these days I'll write a story on the habits of wild people. That's it for today. See you next time.

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  1. Wah!! Thanks for your writing...
    It is so fun and enjoyable to read about your observation on animal tracks which I would not be able to experience at my place.

  2. I am still not good in identify wild animal tracks. If we went to a field trip and when i saw any tracks of animals i keep asking our field assistant what animals makes that tracks. But now i am pretty sure what the difference between Bearded Pig and Sambar Deer tracks.hehehe..

    Other things that is interesting to observed is the droppings by wild animals. Sounds disgusting but i have a friend who study sun bear ecology told us, the poops of sun bear is the most precious things. It is just like a treasure. :)

  3. Very cool. Getting those track shots must have been difficult.

  4. Wow, what memories you brought back to me. My father taught me to track when I was a kid, just as his grandmother taught him (he lived with her most of his life); she was Native American, a Chickasaw. You not only gave your visitors a great posting, you gave me a gift of remembering. Happy Holidays, A.J.

  5. Rainfield61 - It's not as easy as finding tracks in the snow, but sometimes you can see tracks in the mud.

    Rose - I think with those animals you know, you're already at least as good as me at identifying tracks.

    I've seen them examine animal droppings on TV. They break it apart, and show what's in it. By looking at the droppings, they can tell what kind of an animal it is, and what it eats. Maybe it is treasure.:)

    DNLee - Thanks. Your tracks are nice too, and you got yours first.:)

    Joanne - Actually, with the snow, getting the tracks were very easy, and they were almost everywhere out there.

    A.J. - I'm glad I could help. Thanks for sharing your memory with us. I'm no good tracker, I only know a few.

  6. Very cool! We have some snow on the ground here in Oregon. I think I'm taking the kids out in the morning to look for tracks!

  7. Amy - I think they'll have the time of their lives.

  8. Keep blogging! Norway here and I like it!

  9. Beerbear - Thanks. I'll keep trying.