Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Animal Tracking: Tiny Mystery and Co.

I don't look like much of a tracker, but I like to pretend! That is me in the apple orchard this morning (eating an apple, giving dirty looks) - the mud up there was perfect for looking at animal tracks. The thing is, I found some that are familiar to me and some that are a total mystery... maybe ya'll can help me figure it out!? :)
This first track above looks like a kitty cat paw, and was about that size. The cats that live here never seem to go up that way... but the tracks right next to there (seen below) may have been the who knows what that tempted them to go into the unknown.
This print in the mud is not only new to me, but has me pretty baffled. Ultra tiny, about the size of a penny including toes and pad - perfectly shaped little circle for each spot it imprinted into the ground. But no real visible claws, which made me think this might not be a squirrel (my first guess) and started thinking possibly it could be a giant frog, or other baby critter?
Next to the single print above was a little scurry of the same creature's tracks, where they stepped in the same place more then once- and even looked as though it slipped, skidded, or could have been dragged. Any guesses on this one?
Below is a large print of a coyote or medium size dog. This was further up the muddy trail by about 30 feet from the tiny mystery prints. In a way, I can see an entire food chain forming as I move upward...
This last track is a classic deer imprint, which there are tons of! I love thinking about how the deers are out-smarting me, always one step ahead, silently getting away.
Past all the apple trees, and into a small man made hut I finally found something that was there right then and not just it's tracks... a wittle brave forest mouse! Look at his sculpted ears and clean multi-toned coat, I love him! He was running fast as he could away from me... :)


Blair said...

I think you and this country mouse have alot in common, Leslie .. :-)

Kittie Howard said...

Could the small prints be a raccoon or opossum?? Rita Mae Brown has a series of books where cats talk and solve mysteries. A mouse in the hay barn helps out sometimes. Saw your photo and thought of that mouse.

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Hey Blair- are you saying i am hairy and can run fast?

Kittie- It would have to be a newborn opossum or raccoon, their adult prints are really distinct and much bigger then we'd think they are (they usually show a thumb/claws). This print was way smaller then even the kitty cat print.
I think maybe i should ask the mouse!!! I bet it knows. Those books sound cool, i wonder if they are at the library.

panne breaux said...

i had looked at the tracks this morning. i couldn't tell what it was. http://www.ussartf.org/animal_tracking.htm

you'd have to find out what the prime feeding time is and find a spot to sit near where you find signs of deer traffic. deer are generally more active in the twilight time around dusk and dawn.

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