Being familiar with animal tracks can be a fun way to get to know the wildlife that surrounds you! It is also great information to have while out camping or hiking, so you can be aware of which animals are in the area and know if you’re in harm’s way or if you’re in danger of disturbing an animal! Here is an awesome animal track identification guide, featuring common animals of the region, to help you discover a fun part of nature!
Feline prints are highly recognizable, with four tear drop-shaped toes and a central pad that almost resembles a drawing of a human nose! Be on the lookout for bobcat, cougar, and the less common lynx.
Canine paw prints feature the four toes on the print and are similar to the feline prints, but have the visible presence of claws and a more triangular central pad. The most notable canines to keep an eye out for are coyotes, red and gray foxes, and eastern and gray wolves.
Black bears are most commonly found in this area, but there are several species of bear throughout North America. Bear paws have five toes on both the front and hind legs, with a small, wide pad on the front and a long, almost human foot-like pad on the back.
Rabbit is another species that has very distinct tracks! Long oval prints come from the long hind legs that are characteristic of rabbits, while small, more circular prints come from front paws! Rabbit prints can be found in a cluster pattern, for a very recognizable track.
Raccoons have five toes on both the front and back paws, and leave very distinctive tracks! Both front and back tracks look very similar to human hand prints, although substantially smaller and with claw marks at the end!
Porcupine tracks are unique in the way that four toes are present on the front paws, while five toes can be seen on the back! The prints are fairly large, and usually have the presence of claw marks.
Whitetail Deer & Moose
These hooved creatures have easily recognizable tracks, each print with two tapered indents, similar to the look of an upside down apostrophe, as well as two smaller imprints behind these from the dew claws. Moose have very similar tracks, however in adults, you will find that moose tracks are larger. Tracks from both animals must be impressive, as they have served as inspiration for delicious ice cream names!
There are a variety of bird species, meaning the tracks you find could belong to any of several hundred species! Bird tracks typically have three prongs, sometimes with claw marks at the end. Large tracks could signify the presence of wild turkeys, eagles, and hawks! You can also differentiate the tracks of ducks and geese, as they will show the webbed design in the print!
Hopefully this awesome animal track identification guide will inspire you to know more about nature and the behaviors and impacts of the wildlife that surrounds us! Identifying tracks could become a new hobby that isn't just fun while traveling, but it could also be useful knowledge to have for a variety of outdoor situations.