How to Read Animal Tracks

How to Read Animal Tracks
With the use of a field guide, you can successfully read animal tracks. The process takes careful observation of the tracks' different details and characteristics. By examining the tracks, you can figure out what animal made them and possibly even what the animal was doing while making the tracks.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape Field guide to animal tracks
  • Measuring tape
  • Field guide to animal tracks
Step 1
Search for animal tracks in the woods after a fresh snowfall and in places such as in the mud and sand along waterways. Take your field guide with to consult once you find some tracks.
Step 2
Count the number of toes in the tracks you discover. Look at them carefully to see if there are any claw marks extending from the toes.
Step 3
Measure the distance between each set of similar tracks and the tracks' depth for hints about the size and weight of the animal.
Step 4
Observe the tracks closely to see if they are side by side or one on top of another. See if they indicate whether the animal took a direct route or a meandering one through the countryside.
Step 5
Take note of the habitat in which you found the tracks as this can give you a clue as to the type of animal that left them.
Step 6
Look for signs such as animal scat, diggings, feathers or bones that can indicate what the animal may have been doing.

Tips & Warnings

Purchase a field guide that contains tracks of animals who live in the part of the United States you are in to eliminate species that are not indigenous to the area.

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