May 23, 2008

Animal Tracking

When the creek started going down, I liked to go to its banks and check the mud for tracks. There were lots to see.

These adorable little things belong to a racoon. There were more of these tracks than any other, including some from "sumo coon" that were almost as big as my palm. He was a healthy fellow.

These are from some bird, probably a killdeer I think, because I saw lots of these little birds on the road and in the hayfield in front of my house.

And I also saw, but did not photograph, deer tracks, of which there are always a million everywhere, including in my yard.

Can you identify these?????

Kudos to who ever can tell me what these are from. Each print is as large as my palm. They are deep in the mud, and so somewhat distorted. There appear to be no toe marks, but definatly deep claw marks. Some prints seem to have four toe/claw marks, others seem to have 5. I have compared them to photos on the internet of the following prints: coyote, bobcat, dog, mountian lion, black bear. The closest match I can find is black bear, but only one picture matched, the others I looked at didn't come close. They are really too large for bobcat and coyote, there are no large dogs running around near our place that we have seen....in a year or more.....and we know that there are mountain lions in the area, but it didn't really look like their prints. The claws are not retracted, but maybe he was trying to grip in the slick mud (it was very slick, beleive me). Also, we've never heard of black bear in the area, those years and years ago they were native to eastern Montana, but supposedly some were released somewhere in eastern Montana at some point in the not so distant past.

I emailed them to a proffesor in the ecology department at MSU Bozeman, and he replyed that they were not clear enough to identify.

Whatever it was it crossed the creek at the crossing by my house, heading towards us, not away!

1 comment:

Valerie said...

What a great idea! I really enjoyed seeing these pictures and ones of the wildlife. I thought the unidentified tracks were very clear. I don't know what they are, but I could accept bear. If it wasn't hot as Hades and humid as a sauna, I'd love to get out and note some nature stuff. I keep hoping for a break in the heat, but no end in sight as yet.