My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Following Mammal Tracks in the Snow

mouse tracks and grass
Mouse tracks and Queen Ann’s Lace!

This time of the year I find my blogging opportunities are a bit more limited than during the summer months and I am looking down more than up into the tree tops! This weekend with the fresh snow on the ground, I never anticipate the many opportunities to find some exciting animal prints!

mouse tracks
Mouse Path

Mouse prints were most everywhere and although the lighting was hard to capture . . . . they were much more beautiful that I was able to capture for you. What species are these prints? . . . I am sorry but I can’t remember which mouse drags its tail like this (help if you know)! My assumption is that it needs to be a White-footed Mouse or the Deer Mouse (but my money is on the White-footed Mouse).

the intersection
The intersection where the excitement can be found!

On occasion you will find me following tracks for no apparent reason and this was a day that I was happy to do so. I located a predator who picked up a mouse scent and then turned back the other direction to the location where the mouse was going in-and-out of its hole. The predator appeared to stalked the hole for a few seconds, before following the stream edge and then crossed the creek.

Predator tracks
Predator Tracks

Now this is where the identification of the predator gets tricky! I am going to use my SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) from this point on! The prints were more than a foot apart but less than 2 feet with what appeared to be bigger paws. The print was snowed over and I had a hard time making out the print but you could could almost make it out.  The tracks were staggered like a dog or cat, so you can throw out any of the weasels as being an option. Prints were not right for Skunk, Porcupine or even a Raccoon but was not big enough for a Coyote. I am thinking it was a Fox or Bobcat! My SWAG is that this was a Bobcat due to the prints never showed any nails and this predator appeared to have super big paws (as if it had very furry paws which Bobcats have). I am more of a bird guy . . . . so would love to hear your prospective on these prints!!

predator print up close
Print up close!


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15 responses

  1. I am no tracker, but I was thinking the same thing as I read along.

    18 February 2009 at 8:21 pm

  2. Sarah

    It was the cat-footed leaping Kangaroo! Your so lucky to have seen evidence of one, there incredibly rare. Ok, maybe not.

    18 February 2009 at 8:37 pm

  3. I hope you get some answers. The snow has lots of stories to tell.

    18 February 2009 at 8:42 pm

  4. That was a fun post. I actually have a field guide for animal prints – I should get it out! I stink at this!
    Boy, wouldn’t ya love to see that bobcat when you have a camera???

    18 February 2009 at 9:31 pm

  5. Love the SWAG!! HA!

    Absolutely intriguing. It makes sense as you explain it, but I would never figure that out on my own just looking at tracks. We just got more snow so I will have look at this in a little more detail this weekend. ;o)

    18 February 2009 at 9:37 pm

  6. My guess some wild cat…ok so I am a catwoman..surley not mouse tracks!
    This is one thing I love about a fresh blanket of snow..tracking the footprints the next day..in my garden…as I type I looked out and saw a few nocturnals..picking up seeds from under the feeders!
    Tomorrow I follow their tracks.
    This post was fun!Happy tracking!NG

    18 February 2009 at 9:51 pm

  7. Most interesting! What a fun mystery!

    19 February 2009 at 1:13 am

  8. This is my first winter following tracks in the snow and it’s so much fun unfurling the mysteries. We have a bobcat on the property, and the tracks surely look similar. Our bobcat has BIG prints! My sister’s watch fits neatly in the center with plenty of room to spare. Thanks for sharing.

    19 February 2009 at 5:00 am

  9. I may have to borrow that term SWAG – lol! So much excitement in these animal tracks – I enjoyed this! I hope it was a bobcat – they are so beautiful! Now I need an animal track book – you have me so curious!

    19 February 2009 at 6:09 am

  10. I love your SWAG Tom! I would not even begin to guess anything…lol!

    19 February 2009 at 6:38 am

  11. Bobcat? That would be so amazing! Are they common or rare in your neck of the woods Mon@rch? You’re a good tracks detective!

    19 February 2009 at 9:30 am

  12. We haven’t had any snow (just about 1/2 inch so far) so I do not have much experience with tracking in the snow. Great photos and I loved following you on the quest.

    19 February 2009 at 9:43 am

  13. Rarely can I identify tracks in the snow, but I do love to follow them. Nice photos.

    19 February 2009 at 4:45 pm

  14. @ Threecollie – cheers!
    @ Sarah – I over looked and have hoped for this for many years now! YEAH!
    @ Linda – we got lots of snow last night . . . maybe that will bring new tracks!
    @ Bird Girl – I know right! I will photograph one here someday soon!
    @ Kallen – Thanks! You would be surprised what you could do on your own . . I have faith you could! Let us know what you find!
    @ naturegirl – thanks and was fun exploring this site!
    @ Rondi – thanks!
    @ Karen – we had some bobcat prints last week that was very apparent being fresh but these were snowed over and really hard to tell the details in the print to be 100% sure! But I do think it was a good chance to be a bobcat!
    @ Shelley – use all you want! Hope you get a track book . . they are fun!
    @ Jayne – Thanks and it is amazing what you can learn from the internet!
    @ Ruthie J – They are not common like deer but they are secretive! They are in the area!
    @ Joan – ½ an inch can be enough to track . . . hope you get to see something! Thanks
    @ Ncmountainwoman – thanks and you can follow in mud also!

    19 February 2009 at 7:21 pm

  15. Grace

    February is my favorite month for leading Animal Tracks & Sign hikes. EV-ry thing is out making trails, but the tracks can be tricky to identify. The sun on the snow melts them bigger.

    19 February 2009 at 10:59 pm

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