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Another quiz for your to practice your tracking skills on. These are from western WA state.
1) What species is this? What kind of gait is it using here?
2)What species made the large tracks in this image? Which directions was it traveling?
3) Which foot? What is unique about this track?
4) What species? Which feet?
5) What species? Which foot?
6) What species?
1) Mink bounding
2) Muskrat moving to the left
3) Bobcat right front / the unique part is that Toe 1 registered
4) River Otter / Left hind (top) & left front (bottom)
5) Bald Eagle / Left foot
6) Sandhill Crane...I wasn't sure if this might be a Wild Turkey but I think they are only on the east side of the Cascades. Is that right?
1) Jason and I debated this one for sometime. The evidence was more staggered towards long-tailed weasel. The smaller toe pads, reduced metatarsal and metacarpal pads. The overall size was just over an inch long. There was another set of smaller weasel tracks in the same area. Admittedly, this was a tough call.
2) Yes, on the ID. One trail is moving right to left. Also, there is another trail moving bottom to top. :)
3) This cat's track is unique because of that pad at the bottom. Believe or not, that is not toe 1! Cats and dogs have a unique feature on their front legs that is actually an additional pad (called the carpal pad) that is not attached to any bones. This is used for additional traction, on steep slopes or at high speeds. In this case, this is a steep slope.
4) Yes, River Otter. Correct, Left hind on top, left front on bottom!
5) Yep. Bald Eagle! Correct, left foot.
6) This one was a surprise and a challenge for us, as it had all of the features of wild turkey, but the location was not in their range... however, it was near various farms, some of which no doubt had an assortment of foul. The trail appeared to lead from the direction of a nearby farm and out onto the sandbar. And it was actually 2 trails side by side the whole time. We suspect that some domestic turkeys went on an adventure, and planned not to return...
Thanks Filip. That's funny about #6, I never would have thought of feral formerly domestic turkeys :). For #3, is the carpal pad present in all felines and canines?
Yeah, we were really puzzled about # 6.
As for the carpal pads on all felines and canines, I can not speak for all species in the world, but my understanding is that certainly the North American species I have seen up close have them and all the domestic dog/cat breeds I have seen appear to have them (though its possible some are missing it due to genetic mutations).