racoon tracks

This time of year is fantastic for discovering what might be wandering around your yard when you aren’t looking.  A light coating of snow is all it takes for animals to leave their tracks behind.  Tracks are not always easy to identify, though. Here are a few tips to help you wow your friends and neighbors with your animal I.D.ing skills.

  1. Take great photos so you can use field guides or the internet when you get home.
  2. Give yourself a frame of reference. Place something next to the track that has a known length for your photograph, such as a dollar bill or your hand.
  3. Don’t just take a photo of one track. Try to get several sets together to help you figure out the gait of the animal.
  4. Try to notice the habitat where you found the tracks. Are the tracks by water, in the woods, or in a field?
  5. Are there any other clues to help you? Is there scat or urine, feathers, chewed twigs, tail drag marks, or nut shells nearby?

If you are stumped, send them our way and we will do our best to help you figure out your tricky track!

-Beth Heckman, Assistant Education Coordinator

deer scat
2 deer beds with tracks nearby
fisher tracks