Experiencing animals through their footprints can provide a fascinating insight into their behavior and lives. However, like a piece of evidence at a crime scene, it can take a bit of specialized knowledge and tools to glean as much information as possible from footprints. Reading animal trails is part art, part science and a whole lot of patient observation.
Measuring tape is one of the most important tools for cataloging animal tracks. The tape will allow you to measure stride distance, track depth and the track's width and length.
Plaster of Paris
Simply mix with water and you have a quick-drying cement that permanently catalogs tracks. Filling a track with plaster peeling out the final cast can give you a better sense of the detailed contours to be found on animal paws.
When it comes to recording animal tracks, a sketch pad simply doesn't cut it. Graph paper comes in quantifiable measurements, allowing you to accurately transpose measurements from your ruler to the page.
While it's not a necessity, having a camera certainly doesn't hurt. Cameras are not so great for gathering accurate measurements, but they are wonderful for recording the context in which an animal track is discovered. While Plaster of Paris can capture a handful of tracks, you can use a camera to take images of a creature's movement over vast distances.
Article Written By Louie Doverspike
Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.