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Farm Tracking 101, Part 3

Mystery trackIf you guessed dog for yesterday's mystery track (shown here), you were right.  It's actually two tracks on top of each other, but not exactly registering, making the track look longer than it actually is and muddying the shape.  But the nails in the front give it away.  Domestic dog!

Chipmunk trackNow to those pesky bounders.  When I see a set of two or four tracks together with a big space between, I usually haul out my primary tracking tool --- the ruler.  The teensy tiny bounder tracks are shrews, mice, or voles.  Next size up comes chipmunks, then squirrels, then rabbits.  Be sure to measure both the length of the tracks and the space between each set of tracks --- both are distinctive.

Track placement is also important.  Look at the set of four tracks to the left (with the red arrow showing the direction of the animal's movement.)  The hind tracks are in front of the front tracks --- odd, I know, but think about the way a rabbit looks as it hops, with hind feet swinging Squirrel trackover past the front feet.  That's normal for all bounders.

What helps you tell the bounder species apart is whether the front feet tracks are staggered (like the ones above) or opposite (like the ones to the right.)  Squirrels keep their front feet paired while rabbits and chipmunks tend to keep their front feet staggered.  So the track above is a chipmunk and the one to the right is a squirrel.

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

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