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Animal Tracking & Animal Sign Environmental Biology.

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Presentation on theme: "Animal Tracking & Animal Sign Environmental Biology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Animal Tracking & Animal Sign Environmental Biology

2 How do we know what animals are in our area? –Are tracks the only clues we have? –Are these the only sign that animals leave?

3 No…Animal sign might include… A. Scat and Pellets. What can this tell us?

4 B. Trails, Runs and Escape Routes

5 Dens, Burrows, Beds, Lays and Nests C. Dens, Burrows, Beds, Lays and Nests

6 What functions do burrows, nests, beds provide?

7 Gnaws, Chews, Rubs,and marking signs. D. Gnaws, Chews, Rubs,and marking signs. Also look for tooth marks, tracks, scat, or even tufts of hair around sign such as this.

8 These markings tell you what animal made them…

9 Bones, Teeth, Fur and Feathers E. Bones, Teeth, Fur and Feathers If you really know your animals, you can tell what animal the fur is from.

10 Bones, Teeth, Fur and Feathers E. Bones, Teeth, Fur and Feathers

11 There’s a lot more to tracking than just footprints!! …Scat and Pellets, …Dens, Burrows, Beds, Lays and Nests, …Trails, Runs and Escape Routes, …Bones, Teeth, Fur and Feathers, …Gnaws, chews and rubs, marking signs and feeding areas. All of these can help us learn about wildlife in our area…. All of these can help us learn about wildlife in our area….

12 But track basics are where we will start! As we learn how to read and understand tracks, we will also learn more about how to use other clues

13 What is an animal track? What can a track tell us? A track is an imprint of the animal’s foot. A record of the animal’s movement. A clue about an animal’s behaviors. Remember; animals don’t cover their tracks!

14 "Tracking is like learning to read. First you start with the ABC's then you work up to simple sentences, then to paragraphs and finally to books. Ultimately, with practice, you can read very difficult books with a great deal of hidden meaning.” "A track is a window to the past of an animal. Look at the ground as if it were a manuscript of the animal's life."

15 GAITS= pattern of tracks (how they put their feet down!) Each animal has typical patterns of tracks in certain situations (i.e. walking, running, etc.) Each animal has typical patterns of tracks in certain situations (i.e. walking, running, etc.) “Assume all animals can do all gaits” “Assume all animals can do all gaits” F= front feet (FF) F= front feet (FF) R= rear feet (RF) R= rear feet (RF)

16 Basic Gait Patterns (4)

17 1.Diagonal Walks- like a baby crawling. Back right foot moves with front left foot. Back right foot moves with front left foot. Normal gait for fairly long legs. Normal gait for fairly long legs. Dogs, cats and hoofed animals when moving more slowly (walking) Dogs, cats and hoofed animals when moving more slowly (walking)

18 Register- how front & back prints relate to each other A. Direct Register- R foot perfectly fits in front track so you see only 1 print R foot perfectly fits in front track so you see only 1 print All cats and red fox All cats and red fox F foot is generally bigger then R foot F foot is generally bigger then R foot (opposite of normal) (opposite of normal)

19 Register B. Indirect Register- R foot touches track left by F foot (but not in) *deer, coyote, domestic dog (way off!) dog (way off!) * May be indirect at times, even if normally direct or no register- see cat print!

20 Register C. No register- F and R prints F and R prints do not touch do not touch at all. at all.

21 Side note…… In deer, you may be able to tell gender by the relationship of F and R tracks females- wider at hip relative to shoulders females- wider at hip relative to shoulders Males- wider in shoulders relative to hips Males- wider in shoulders relative to hips *make sure you see a SERIES of tracks!

22 2. Bounders- “leap frog” Most are long bodied & short legged animals R foot brought up just behind F foot R foot brought up just behind F foot Weasel family- skunk, weasel, mink Weasel family- skunk, weasel, mink Any animal may bound on uneven ground Any animal may bound on uneven ground

23 Sometimes in deep snow you may see this dumbbell pattern which is produced when the animal is not clearing the snow as they move (bound or gallop)

24 3. Gallop- RF lands in front of FF Most power and force comes from R foot Most power and force comes from R foot Gallop is a faster gait then a bound, used for “making tracks!” Gallop is a faster gait then a bound, used for “making tracks!” All rabbits (hares) and rodents All rabbits (hares) and rodents Wide bodies when hurrying- beaver, muskrat, woodchuck, skunk, raccoon and muskrat (porcupine, marmot) Wide bodies when hurrying- beaver, muskrat, woodchuck, skunk, raccoon and muskrat (porcupine, marmot)

25 How can you tell if the tracks were made by a tree or ground dweller? Ground dweller- FF diagonal (rabbit) Ground dweller- FF diagonal (rabbit) -muscles set up to pivot and turn Tree dweller- FF side by side/ vertical (squirrel) Tree dweller- FF side by side/ vertical (squirrel) -needs to coordinate feet to climb *Works for birds as well!

26 You can only tell a bound from a gallop if you know which way they were traveling! You can only tell a bound from a gallop if you know which way they were traveling! * How do you tell?????? * How do you tell?????? ALWAYS show direction of direction of travel with travel with arrows arrows >

27 How fast? You can estimate how fast the animal was traveling by comparing the stride measurements You can estimate how fast the animal was traveling by comparing the stride measurements Increase in space between FF & RF, & gap between track sets means faster speed Increase in space between FF & RF, & gap between track sets means faster speed Look for tail drag to disappear, mud/snow being thrown & depth of tracks to increase as speed up Look for tail drag to disappear, mud/snow being thrown & depth of tracks to increase as speed up

28 How to measure stride Overall stride is measured from the heel on one side to the next heel on that side- dogs, cats & hoofed animals Overall stride is measured from the heel on one side to the next heel on that side- dogs, cats & hoofed animals Stride of gallopers is measured from tip of R toes to back of F foot (bounders = tip of F toes to back of R foot). Stride of gallopers is measured from tip of R toes to back of F foot (bounders = tip of F toes to back of R foot).

29 canine gallop Canines (dog, coyote, fox) will produce a C shaped track pattern when galloping Canines (dog, coyote, fox) will produce a C shaped track pattern when galloping

30 Deer gallop Look at hoof impressions to Look at hoof impressions to see which way they were going. see which way they were going.

31 4. Pace- wide bodied animals, short legs relative to body mass Same side RF and FF move together= “John Wayne” Same side RF and FF move together= “John Wayne” Bear, raccoon, opossum, skunk, beaver, muskrat Bear, raccoon, opossum, skunk, beaver, muskrat and woodchuck and woodchuck (wolverine, badger, porcupine, marmot) (wolverine, badger, porcupine, marmot)

32 Pace is a slower, less efficient gate, so animals usually don’t have major predators to worry about. Larger frontal presentation when strut so the animal looks bigger Larger frontal presentation when strut so the animal looks bigger

33 Bucks in rut will Bucks in rut will pace- “don’t mess with me!” pace- “don’t mess with me!” Beavers will pace- Beavers will pace- What else should you look for What else should you look for in their trail? in their trail? Skunks Skunks too! too!

34 Other tracking measurements Length, width of track Length, width of track Straddle- distance between left and right heels (0 or positive) Straddle- distance between left and right heels (0 or positive) Stride- measured from the heel of one foot to the heel of the other foot Stride- measured from the heel of one foot to the heel of the other foot

35 What happened here?

36 So get on your tracking shoes, & practice those gaits! You will only truly understand an animal if you have walked a mile in their shoes……… I mean feet! Game on………I mean gait on!

37 Watch how this animal puts it’s feet down as it runs.


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