Posted February 12, 2020
Written by Kyla Isakson
Have you ever seen imprints in the mud or snow and wondered what made them? Here’s a quick guide to identifying animal tracks.
The pattern of tracks can tell you what that animal was doing; a stretched gait could indicate that the animal was running. Deer have heart-shaped hooves that they spread out wider for stability while running. Bucks drag their hooves and leave long tracks. Small mammals, like mice and squirrels, have smaller front feet and larger back feet. Canines have four toes and one heel. Dogs tend to have a more winding and wandering track, likely due to a reduction in wariness. Wolves and coyotes walk in direct paths. Foxes have narrow chests, so they step directly in front of their opposite feet, and it appears that their tracks are in a straight line.
For a visual animal track guide of Massachusetts natives, check out this guide provided by MassWildlife.
Please use caution when out on the trails. Do not approach wild animals, and be respectful of them in their natural habitats.