RV Hobbies: Animal Print Tracking
Tracking animal prints and signs used to be a way of survival, but now many people track animals as a hobby.
While walking through the woods at your campground, or just on a hike at your local park, why not keep an eye out for animal prints. Especially if you have kids with you, this is a great way to keep them occupied.
There are a couple of different ways you can do this.
- Beartrackers Animal Den offers a free tracking guide that you can take to help identify prints as you see them.
- Take pictures of the prints you find and match them up with a guide when you get home.
Study prints ahead of time so that when you find prints on your hike you can identify them, and tell your kids what kind of animal left those prints. You can then have the kids tell you what kind of noise the animal makes, or have them pretend to be that animal.
It is also fun to look at the print and try to tell if the animal was running or walking, which you can figure out by how far apart the prints are and how deep they are in the ground.
To tell the difference between animals, look at how many pad prints there are and the shape of them. Nail marks and the size of the print will help you tell the difference between dog (coyote, wolf, and fox) and cat (bobcat, cougar) species. Counting toes will help you identify an animal print as well. Deer tracking will not have any of these characteristics, but that is a good thing because they are unique. Deer tracks are large and look like two tear drops very close that touch at the top. Bear tracks zigzag along the trail, so it may be harder to find their path.
It is best to view the tracks with you on one side of the track and the sun on the other; this creates a shadow and makes it easier to see the detail. Viewing animal tracks is easiest when the ground is soft.
Although tracking a print can be fun, following an animal can be dangerous. All animals are unpredictable, and if they feel threatened they can attack. Never trap an animal and do not invade its home.
Tracking is also a good way to get moving without thinking about exercise. For more information about animal tracking, visit Beartrackers Animal Den and eHow.