Track Guide

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.

Track References

Alderness Wilderness College
Animal Track ID [PDF]
Beartracker
Deerdance
Elbroch, Mark, 2003 Mammal Tracks and Signs: A Guide to North American Species
eNature
Gaits
Lowery, James, 2013 Tracker’s Field Guide. Falcon Guides
Nature Tracking
North Woods Guides
Outdoor Action

Subject Area Experts (all guides)

Steve Cary (butterflies)
Beth Cortright (insects)
Terry Foxx (invasive plants)
Leslie Hansen (mammals)
Richard Hansen (fish, mammals)
Dorothy Hoard (butterflies, trees)
Chick Keller (flowers, herbarium)
Shari Kelley (geology)
Kirt Kempter (geology)
Garth Tietjen (reptiles)
David Yeamans (birds)

Web Development and Content Management

Pat Bacha
Jennifer Macke
Graham Mark
Akkana Peck

Contact

Please contact us for local nature questions and sightings. We welcome comments, corrections, and additions to our guides.

For more information about local nature, please visit our Nature Blog or subscribe to PEEC This Week.

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Showing 1 of 29 tracks.
Muskrat

Drawn based upon US Geological Society image

Muskrat

Photo: Camazine

Muskrat

Photo: born1945

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