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Thread: What animal could these paw prints belong to?

  1. #1
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    What animal could these paw prints belong to?

    I saw these paw prints while hiking on AT with my daughter today in Vermont. I'm hoping these would belong to a bobcat... Any thoughts?
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    I think the spacing on hiking stick marks is actually 1 inch since there are two sections, so the paw width was probably a little over 2 inches.
    Last edited by iAmKrzys; 12-29-2018 at 06:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    Looks like coyote to me, or maybe dog.

    Cats don't generally have claw marks showing in the print, since they walk with their claws retracted. See http://www.wildlifelandtrust.org/wil...te-tracks.html.

    Another way to differentiate coyote from dog is to see if the track wanders, or if it's a generally straight line. Dogs will often wander, deviating side to side along a general track while coyote or wolf tracks look more like going a direction with a purpose.
    It's a lot like fun, but different.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Maybe a large dog. I don't have much experience with tracks but one time I was looking at coyote tracks and the examples I saw on the internet showed only 2 center claw marks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Not any kind of cat - it's possible to see a claw mark if the cat is afraid of losing its grip, but that's quite rare, and anyway those look like canid tracks, both the claw marks and the overall shape. (It's not any kind of weasel or woodchuck or porcupine or...)

    Dog, coyote, and fox are your candidates. (I suppose wolf isn't impossible - where in Vermont?) My guess would be dog. As Expat mentioned, you may get a clue from looking at the track over a longer stretch. A domestic dog will wander around sniffing out interesting stuff, then return to the trail, and usually vary its pace frequently. A coyote or fox track will be much more single-minded, with a very steady and efficient gait, and will come closer to "perfect stepping", where the rear feet land exactly where the front feet did (which cats also do very often).

  5. #5
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    The animal track was not steady - I saw the prints wonder about the trail, so I guess this would make a case for a dog stronger.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    On a separate note (still same hike) we saw these small pellets concentrated in a small area under a tree. I asked in "What's this bird" group on facebook and I'm told it looks like Ruffed Grouse droppings. Too bad we did not see the bird itself.
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    Last edited by iAmKrzys; 12-29-2018 at 10:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I concur with both dog and ruffed grouse. In print picture #3, you can see the rear paw (smaller) ahead of the front paw (larger) which is pretty standard, in my experience, for your domestic canine.


    Front paw of a 63 pound golden retriever

    Tim
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    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Another clue that it is canine is that the rear of the pad print is decidedly concave.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

  9. #9
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your comments. I learned something new. Of course more input is still welcome.

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