This guide initially displays common tracks of all shapes. Use the selectors below to view particular shapes, include rare species, or search by name.
Anything that moves over the ground leaves some sort of marking of its passage. In particular, footprints left behind in soil, snow, mud, or other ground surfaces provide a means of recognizing different species. The illustrations and characteristics listed below highlight key features that can be used to identify the tracks of many of the animals in the area.
Alderness Wilderness College
Animal Track ID [PDF]
Elbroch, Mark, 2003 Mammal Tracks and Signs: A Guide to North American Species
Lowery, James, 2013 Tracker’s Field Guide. Falcon Guides
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Drawn based upon US Geological Society image
Muskrat(Ondatra zibethicus, Castor zibethicus)
Family: Cricetidae (New World Rats and Mice, Voles, Hamsters, and Relatives)
Gait: lope, walk
Form: small claws; long toes
Front Foot: 5 toes; 1.5 in (3.8 cm) - 2.5 in (6.4 cm)
Hind Foot: 5 toes; 3.0 in (7.6 cm) - 5.0 in (12.7 cm)
Small fifth toe nubbin on front foot can only be seen in very clear tracks. Hind paws are much wider than long.
Scat is oval and often deposited on exposed logs at water's edge in a sticky mass. Dens are made of reeds and appear as small conical domes.
Mammal Guide - Muskrat