wildlife – tracks
Otter holt beneath
the woody debris
When you visit a river, stream,
lake or pond, apart from the mini-beasts that you might find living
in and on the water, there might also be signs that other creatures
have visited that stretch of water.
You might pick up the scent of
a fox or see some otter spraints (droppings) on a log or stone in
the river, you might even be lucky enough to see a kingfisher or
deer. Alternatively, you may find tracks in the soft mud near a
river, indicating that a mammal or bird has been there not too long
Otter spraint on
Heron and pheasant tracks look quite similar
in shape but heron tracks are much larger.
Fox and dog tracks are often
confused. You can usually draw a horizontal line between the two
forward toe pads and the second two toe pads on a fox track. Also
the fox rear pad is the same size as its toe pads.
Cat tracks are similar to dog
tracks but smaller in size. Deer tracks are two sausage shaped slots
made by their hooves.
Water voles and squirrels are
about the same size, water vole tracks look like human hand prints
and squirrel tracks are a complicated series of pad and claw marks.
Water voles are thought to have died out in Cornwall because of
by wild mink, but there are plans to introduce water voles in suitable
Duck have classic webbed feet while kingfishers
have their two outside toes fused together to make unusual looking
Otter and badger tracks both
have five toes but the large pad behind the toe pads on a badger
track is shaped like a sausage. On otter tracks you can sometimes
see the webbing between the toes.
Dog track on left, badger track
click on the image above to open
a full size version of the animal tracks diagram