Saturday, July 26, 2014

What Is This Footprint?

One of the guests at a ranger program showed a photo on her cell phone of a strange animal track on the Simmons Gap fire road in the southern district of Shenandoah National Park.

The girls and I walked the fire road the next day not really expecting to find the print since it was 24 hours old, but my 8 year old has keen eyes and she spotted the track on the right just past the metal bridge.

While I was getting the camera ready, my 8 year old took her index and middle finger and made fingerprints in the third and fourth toes of the track. I told her not to do that next time!

Note that this track has four big toe prints and no claw marks. Bears have five toes and leave claw marks. A cat, however, has four toe pads and no claw marks since cats retract their claws until they need them.

Bobcat tracks are like house cats so they could not have been this animal. 

Mountain lion? My 8 year old is wearing a girls' size 2 shoe in this photo. Note her double sideways fingermarks on toes 3 and 4.

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