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Farm Tracking 101, Part 2

Now that you can tell your walkers from your bounders, let's take a look at two major walker groups --- the canines and the felines.  You'll have plenty of opportunity to work on telling them apart when you track your household pets, and the knowledge you'll gain there will carry over into figuring out if a fox, bobcat, coyote, or mountain lion is lurking around Cat and dog trackyour henhouse.  Basically, large or small, a cat is a cat and a dog is a dog.

One of each to get you started.  Which is a cat and which is a dog?

If you guessed dog on the left and cat on the right, you're correct!  The easiest way to tell a dog track from a cat track is shape --- dog tracks are longer than they are wide while cat tracks are about the same in both directions.  I've noticed, though, that when Lucy walks in really wet mud, her tracks can sometimes squish out to look like cat tracks, so here are a few other helpful hints:

  • Dog tracks often have visible claws (though not always.)  Cat tracks don't.
  • The main pad on a cat track may show three lobes at the back (though as you can see above, those lobes often aren't visible.)  Dog tracks are less visibly lobed, and there are only two lobes.

Mystery trackIf you find a track that you think is a bobcat, it's often worth walking for a while in the animal's footprints.  Was the track you saw really just a domesticated dog not showing its nails?

For your homework, try to guess if the track to the right is a feline or canine.  Answers tomorrow!

This post is part of our Farm Tracking 101 lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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