How to Cast an Animal Track

How to Cast an Animal TrackAnimal tracks are among the more interesting sights to see when out on a nature walk, and finding and identifying them is a time-tested group activity that combines the outdoors with education. A good next step after finding and identifying an animal track is to make a casting of it, which creates a lasting memento that can be taken home.


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cardboard strips
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water bottle (if no local source is available)
  • Mixing bowl or substitute
Step 1
Brush away any leaves, twigs or other debris that are around the animal tracks. Exercise extreme care to not damage the tracks as you do this. Due to the risk of altering the tracks, do not remove any debris that is embedded in the tracks themselves.
Step 2
Push cardboard strips into the ground a few inches away from the tracks and around them, to erect a barrier. This will hold in the plaster when you pour it.
Step 3
Mix your plaster, using the water and mixing bowl, as directed by the manufacturer. Use a leftover cardboard strip or a stick as a stirrer. If you do not have the directions handy, simply pour some water in the bowl and add plaster until the mix achieves the consistency of thick pancake batter.
Step 4
Tap the bottom of the bowl with your hand to knock out any air bubbles.
Step 5
Put the plaster onto the ground next to the animal tracks. Allow the plaster to slowly fill up the track. Do not pour plaster directly onto the tracks, as you would probably distort the tracks.
Step 6
Allow the casting to set on the tracks for at least 30 minutes before disturbing it. Under humid conditions, wait at least 45 minutes. Pry the casting out of the ground and take it home.

Tips & Warnings

Allow the animal track casting to harden for a week before you attempt to paint it or apply a sealant.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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