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Bemidji Wildlife Survey

posted Mar 10, 2020, 11:07 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 11, 2020, 12:53 PM ]

On Leap Day 2020, a group of students and faculty from Bemidji State University joined with trackers from the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project for the second Hobson Forest Wildlife Survey this winter. With sunny skies and warm temperatures, the teams explored the digs and runs of mice and squirrels, followed in the footsteps of fisher and porcupine, and examined the scattered remains of a barred owl. Here is the story of our day.

We arrived at Hobson Forest as the temperature was climbing into the 20s with morning clouds beginning to break up. For winter tracking, conditions were difficult. It had been a couple of weeks since there had been a fresh snowfall. The ski trails we were following through the woods had been packed hard by groomers, skiers, hikers and repeated thawing and freezing. The trails were covered with boot prints and domestic dog tracks—but our own boots were barely leaving any mark at all. Unlike last December, when our teams found the tracks of red fox, gray fox, coyote and wolf along the ski trials, we were not able to pick out the tracks of any wild canines this day. We believe that the temperature fluctuations played a role in what tracks were being left behind. Night time temperatures had consistently been below freezing, so the trails would be frozen hard when nocturnal animals were on the move. But on warm, sunny days, the trail would soften in the afternoon and the tracks of daytime users—skiers, hikers and domestic dogs—would register clearly.

A sign that was evident along the trails was the digs of squirrels. Across the trials, we found fist-sized holes dug into the hard-packed snow. In and around these holes were fragments of acorn and hazelnut shells. In a few of these holes, trackers found the fine, ticked hairs of gray squirrels.

Fisher Tracks
Unlike the hard packed trials, the snow in the woods was knee deep, loose and granular. Few tracks showed any detail, and even track patterns were difficult to distinguish. What we were able to find in the forest was fisher trails. Lots and lots of fisher trails walking through the deep snow.

It took us some time to identify these trails. With a stride length around 18” and a trail width of about 4”, the track patterns were a good fit for bobcat and plausible for red fox. The tracks themselves appeared quite large, but with loose snow and repeated freezing and thawing the size was clearly distorted. You can see a typical example here. Following these trails out, however, revealed them all to be fisher. One trail passed smoothly through a fence with openings that looked to be a tight squeeze for a bobcat or fox. Others showed occasional lopes and bounds characteristic of fisher. A few trails had individual prints clear enough to identify, including one trail out on the wind-packed snow over a small lake. Bounded on both sides by pockmarks where the animal broke through the crust, our team found a short string of the most perfect fisher tracks many of us have ever seen.

Porcupine
Once we developed an eye for these trails, we saw them everywhere. They seemed to be the most common trails in the forest. And yet fisher populations are generally low density, rarely exceeding one individual per square mile. Hobson forest is 240 acres—just 3/8 of a square mile. So, on average, we expect this patch of forest to house only one fisher who spends less than half its time there. All the tracks and trails we identified were similar in size, and could reasonably have been from the same animal—an animal that was investigating every bit of that forest. Perhaps in search of porcupines.

We spent some time in search of porcupines ourselves, and were rewarded for our efforts. There is abundant porcupine sign throughout Hobson forest, and our teams found trails, scat and feeding sign. We also had some live sightings of these large arboreal rodents. One of these sightings, in the northwest corner of the property, was of a porcupine actively feeding in an oak tree. Porcupine are often difficult to see clearly when they are in the canopy, but this one was out in the open and offered us a great view. With binoculars, we were able to see details such as the pebbly texture of its feet and the dark orange color of its incisors (which have an iron oxide compound in the enamel). We were able to watch how the porcupine moved about on the tree limbs, and used its tail as an extra support while climbing. We also watched it poop, and got a look at fresh-as-can-be porcupine scat.

Barred owl feathers
Our most dramatic, and puzzling find of the day were the scattered remains of a barred owl. Our team found several clumps of barred owl feathers, widely scattered near a trail junction on the western side of the forest. Though there was a porcupine in a tree above one of the clumps, it wasn't talking, and we found no clues to the owl's demise—only evidence of scavenging. Some of the feathers showed signs of being chewed by a carnivore, while other clumps were surrounded by corvid tracks and scat. We also found a clump of feather remains and small bone fragments in the trail that may have been a raven pellet. But we never found the carcass or anything that looked like a kill site.

By the time we wrapped up, the sky was sunny, the temperature was well above freezing and the trails were softening—clearly registering our own tracks as we walked back to the trailhead. We left the forest and headed to the Bemidji State University campus where we shared our stories and our photographs from the day. You can see more of what we found on the Hobson Forest Wildlife Tracking Survey iNaturalist project page.

March 2020 Natural Mystery

posted Mar 9, 2020, 8:36 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 9, 2020, 8:51 AM ]


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February 2020 Natural Mystery Answered

posted Mar 9, 2020, 8:36 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 9, 2020, 8:52 AM ]

Everyone who sent in an answer to our February Natural Mystery correctly identified the species that left this print, and correctly identified this as a front track. Congratulations to Kim Cabrera, Leah Darst, David Felts, Mike Holtz, Rachel Quaday, Liz Snair, Kirsten Welge, Brendan White, and one anonymous contributor who all recognized this hot mess for what it is. There was not agreement, however, on whether this is a right or left track.

What we are sure of is that this is the front track of an opossum. Leah Darst starts us off with these observations to help us identify the track:

"The star-shaped five-toed spread of their front toes is more splayed than a typical raccoon (or many other mammals I know). Opossum's front prints are more round in shape than their back, which show the distinctive 'thumb'. We also don't see anything in the snow that suggests much for fur, since opossums have pretty naked feet."

Identifying which side gets tricky. Opossum front tracks can appear highly symmetrical. Kirsten Welge suggested that this is a left front track and offered the following analysis:

"1) Toes 3 and 4 share a metacarpal pad. This shared pad is seen between the toes 2nd and 3rd from the left of the picture - which would make the toe nearest the ruler Toe 1.

2) In this track, it looks like the leftmost toe registered more strongly than the rightmost toe, and there is a stronger, clearer imprint connecting the leftmost toe and metacarpal. We can conjecture that as a plantigrade walker, opossums might carry more weight towards the outside edge of the foot, similar to bears and beavers."


Kim Cabrera proposes that this is a right track. She did side-by-side comparisons to numerous images of opossum tracks from iNaturalist which showed both front and hind feet and offered the following points for us to consider:

"There is a small indentation in the snow around the 6" mark on the ruler, which is in the right place for the carpal pad below toe 5.

The divide between toes 2 and 3 on the metacarpal pads is really close. Toe 3 often appears right in between the two metacarpal pads. If you look at an opossum foot, toe 3 appears to be right in the middle of those two pads.

Typically, the toes toes 3, 4, and 5 curve outward. I think it's just due to the way they walk. Those toes sometimes sort of stick to the substrate and show up as curved rather than straight toes.

Also, toe 5 often appears shorter than toe 1 on opossum front feet, but that may be due to the curling of the toes when they walk. Their front feet don't hit the ground like a stamp, perfectly up and down, with all toes equally splayed and flat on the ground. So, sometimes, toe length can seem to vary due to the animal having their toes a bit more curled on some steps than others. The angle at which the foot strikes the ground can also cause this to vary. This is also the reason that the toes on opossum tracks sometimes appear to be curved."

When I posted this Natural Mystery, I had confidence we could determine the side of an opossum front track just from subtle clues in the morphology. After reading the responses, and having a number of follow-up conversations with very experienced trackers, I have lost that confidence. It appears that all of the clues that can help us identify right vs. left are weak indicators.

Weak indicators are features that can help us with identification, but which are not reliable by themselves. The lack of claws in a feline track is a weak indicator. While it is true that felines often do not show claws, it is not especially rare that they do. Weak indicators can be help support an identification, but cannot be relied on to make an identification. If all we have are weak indicators, and they all line up with one another, we may have a good case. But if week indicators point us in different directions, we may not be able to come to a conclusion.

In opossum front tracks, it seems that many of the indicators for side are a function of how the animal typically places its foot on the ground, rather than morphology of the foot itself. Here are the weak indicators we can use to help  guide us in determining right vs. left.
  • Typically, toes 3-5 curve outward. But sometimes the toes curve inward.
  • Typically, the weight is set slightly to the outside of the foot, making the pads at the bases of toes 2-5 register clearly, and sometimes be the clearest components in the tracks. But sometimes toe 1 and the pad at the base of toe 1 register more deeply than toe 5.
  • Typically, toe 3 appears to intersect the palm overlapping the metacarpal pad at the base of toe 4 more than it overlaps the pad at the base of toe 2. But sometimes toe 3 appears exactly centered between the two pads and, occasionally, toe 3 appears offset slightly toward toe 2.
  • Typically, toe 5 appears shorter than toe 1. But sometimes the appear the same length and occasionally toe 5 appears longer.
  • Occasionally, the carpal pad will register below the metacarpal pad for toe 5. An additional "heel" pad may also register below toe 1.
All of these features are strongly affected by how the animal places and moves its foot. In the track above, some of these indicators suggest a right foot, and some suggest a left foot. Unfortunately, we cannot verify the side from the track pattern. This track was the only clear print in a jumble of tracks made by an investigating opossum. The fact that this track was not part of a normal walking pattern may help explain why the weak, movement based indicators are inconsistent with one another. Morphology is all we have to go on. And based on that morphology, I don't think we can say with certainty.

In a follow up conversation I had with Kim Cabrera, she added this reflection: "We had this discussion with Mark Elbroch on an eval once. I asked him this exact question. In the absence of a hind track, could one tell a left from right front track of an opossum? He said he didn't know of a way to tell for sure."

So congratulations once again to Brendan, David, Kim, Kirsten, Leah, Liz, Mike, Rachel and an anonymous reader for all correctly identifying this as the front track of an opossum!


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Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey, Winter 2020

posted Feb 12, 2020, 9:54 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 12, 2020, 10:16 AM ]

The Winter Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey took place on January 11. Three teams ventured out onto the snowy landscape of the Reserve and returned with observations of 15 different species, along with stories of a booming deer population, song birds scavenging on a wolf kill, and a raccoon leaving a track pattern across the landscape that none of us have ever seen before. Here is the story of our day.

The survey brought together 27 trackers and naturalists to explore Cedar Creek in search of tracks and sign. The group split into three large teams in the field, with one team heading up to the North Unit, a second team exploring Cedar Bog Lake and the trails near Lindeman, and a third team heading over to the Crane House—an area of the property where we have never surveyed before.

Our team in the North Unit was guided by Mark Erikson, who has spent time this winter scouting Cedar Creek for possible raptor nest locations. In his scouting, he had come across a wolf kill and fresh tracks, which became the groups objective for the day. It had been nearly a year since any of our teams had recorded wolf tracks on the property and we were eager to see fresh sign again.

Entering the North Unit, patterns of behavior we see when wolves are active on the property were immediately evident. Deer were moving along the forest edge, but staying off the road in the open; fox were traveling down the center of the road; and a single coyote trail hugged the edge of the woods just inside the gate. As the team entered the woods, however, the familiar patterns gave way to a foison of deer trails. In a typical winter, we will find one or two heavily worn deer trails crossing the road in the woods between Field E and Junction 69. This winter, our team crossed a deer trail almost every 10 meters. The level of deer activity was far beyond anything we have seen in the past four years, and it appears to be the result of a bumper crop of acorns. The Red Oaks at Cedar Creek had a large mast last fall, and it looks like deer throughout the area have descended on Cedar Creek this winter to feed on the bounty.

By early afternoon, the team made its way to the wolf kill, and investigated who had been scavenging the carcass. The team found tracks or sign of fox, fisher, and a variety of birds on and around the carcass. Last January, our team found a deer carcass in the same area of the reserve. That carcass was heavily scavenged by fisher, and there were fisher trails radiating every direction from the kill site. This year, our team was only able to find the tracks of a single fisher—likely a female—around the carcass. Trail camera images confirmed two visits by a female fisher a few days before our survey, along with a single visit by a male several days before that. Most of the tracks and trails leading to and from the carcass were those of foxes rather than fisher. Why was there so little fisher activity around this carcass? Are there more carcasses in the woods this year? Do fisher range more widely than foxes?

Heading away from the deer carcass, the team found the trail of the wolf that had likely taken it down. Following the trail a short distance, the team was treated to impressions in the snow where the wolf had sat to rest. The wolf's fore paws, flank and tail were all visible in the snow, showing just how large this animal is.

The team that headed to Cedar Bog Lake also found some unusual patterns of wildlife movement, and also found the tracks of the wolf. Typically, the sand-road that leads to the Cedar Bog Lake trailhead is a through-way for deer and foxes. This day, there was little traffic on the road, and no deer sign. Instead, there was a surprising amount of canine activity in the field beside the road. Trails of foxes and coyote crisscrossed the field, likely hunting for voles. While fox tracks are common along this road, coyote tracks are unusual. What was bringing the coyote in to this area? And don't they seem to be displacing the foxes at all?

As in the North Unit, the team found abundant deer sign once they entered to woods. Also as in the North Unit, the deer seemed to be avoiding the open landscape—both the road and the frozen shores of Cedar Bog Lake. What the team found along the shores instead were wolf tracks. The tracks encircled the lake, and headed off into the woods at several places along the shore. The wolf explored this area pretty thoroughly some time in the days before our survey. Members of the team commented on how large the tracks were—much larger than the tracks of the wolf one of our teams trailed last January. The prints appear to match the larger of the two wolves we have been tracking for the past couple of years.

The area around Crane House offered a different landscape, and a different suite of wildlife for our trackers. This area, along Old East Bethel Blvd. just north of the Big Bio experimental fields, is an open landscape of oldfields with a small creek running through. The team found tracks of several animals we would expect in this habitat—pheasant, meadow voles, coyote (hunting said voles), and mink. But they also found several fisher trails, including one that passed through the fence and lopped out onto the wide open fields of Big Bio. Why are we finding so much fisher activity here in the open grasslands, and so little in the woods around a carcass?

There was also a lot of coyote activity in the fields along Old East Bethel. In addition to the abundant tracks, the team found a scat which they brought back to Lindeman to dissect. Although the area is clearly thick with voles, the scat contained the fur and bones of a cottontail. We don't see much cottontail sign on our surveys. Some surveys we don't see any, and these remains were the only sign we saw this day.

The team also found a mysterious trail that required a return visit to identify. A raccoon had moved from the creek across an oldfield leaving a track pattern that none of us have ever seen before. After considerable study, and consulting with trackers from across the world, we are still at a loss to interpret the gait the raccoon was using. Our best guess is that it is a side trot—a gait common in canines and virtually unknown in other taxa. Whatever gait the raccoon was using, it was not a brief transition—it was a sustained pattern for about 100 meters that persisted through direction changes and pauses. Once again the raccoon proved itself the trickster—humbling our most experienced trackers yet again.

As always, we wrapped up the day with more questions than answers. The abundance of deer on the landscape this winter is certainly affecting the other wildlife. Is this why the wolf has returned and appears so settled in? Is there more food on the landscape for scavengers as a result? Is this affecting the movements of the foxes, coyote and fisher? Will it have an impact on the black bear's behavior as they come out of hibernation? Furthermore, will the deer that seem to have gathered at Cedar Creek for the winter disperse once spring arrives and food is more plentiful again? How might such a dispersal affect the wolf? And the scavengers?

We hope to get insights into some of these questions at our upcoming surveys. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us:

Spring Survey: April 4
Summer Survey: June 13
Fall Survey: October 3-4

February 2020 Natural Mystery

posted Feb 11, 2020, 12:38 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 11, 2020, 12:39 PM ]


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February Scavenger Hunt: Hunting the Scavengers

posted Feb 11, 2020, 12:37 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 11, 2020, 12:38 PM ]

Our January Scavenger Hunt turned up trails of Deer Mice, Meadow Voles, Sorex Shrews, even a House Mouse, and led to some good conversations about distinguishing these tiny trails.

This month's scavenger hunt will be a hunt for scavengers. In late winter, many prey animals succumb to months of sparse, low quality food. Their deaths bring respite to both predators and scavengers--from coyotes to mice and eagles to cardinals. The calls of ravens and the trails of coyotes may lead us to carcasses this time of year.

This month, I invite you to join me in a search for carcasses and the signs of scavengers. If you find a carcass, look specifically for sign of depredation or scavenging by:

1) A carnivore
2) A bird
3) A rodent

For an added challenge, try to reconstruct the cause of death and a complete list of animals that scavenged on a carcass. Trail camera images are welcome!

Share What You Find

Please share what you find to our iNaturalist project: Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project: Scavenger Hunt. This is an open project, and anyone with an iNaturalist account can join and add observations.

You can set up an iNaturalist account here.
And join the project here.

January 2020 Natural Mystery Answered

posted Feb 11, 2020, 11:07 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 11, 2020, 11:10 AM ]

Our January Natural Mystery proved smooth sailing for several of our regular contributors. Congratulations to Kim Cabrera, Kathy Dean, Anne Marie Meegan, Kirsten Welge and Brendan White for identifying both the track maker and the track pattern. And thanks to Anne Marie, Kim & Kirsten for sharing their thinking with the rest of us.

These are the tracks of an American Mink. The track pattern is the 2x2 double register typical of small mustelids which some people call a 2x2 lope and others call it a 2x2 bound. Let's start with the identification:

Kirsten starts us off by analyzing the individual tracks:

"Morphology of the hind track (which is clearest in the uppermost right track) shows 5 toes arranged around a triangular or chevron-shaped metatarsal pad. Toe 1 is set further back, with the other 4 toes forming a symmetrical canine-like arrangement. Toes are registering clearly, indicating the bottom of the foot is not heavily furred. Hind track size is about 1 3/4"" long and perhaps 1 1/4"" wide.

The hind track is overlaid on the front track, but we can still make out the front track metacarpal pad and a heel pad (the lowermost dot in the right track set)."


These are all features of mustelid tracks, and identify our track maker as some sort of weasel. Anne Marie notes that the tracks “look too small for Fisher and too big for long or short tail weasel.” But she also noted that we cannot rule out marten based on size alone.

Kim explores explores the difference between Mink and marten in more detail:

"The toes are pretty clear, indicating that the bottoms of the feet are pretty bare. That's more typical of mink than marten. Mink and marten are close in size, sometimes use the same habitats, and both use the 2X2 lope gait. But, these tracks show more details in the snow than I think a marten would."

I'll also note that Keller Regional Park in the Twin Cities is about 150 miles south of the closest marten observations posted on iNaturlaist.


Now about that track pattern.

Kim notes that “The pattern is evident because you can see all four tracks, with the hinds on top of the fronts.” While Kirsten similarly points out that “This picture shows a double register (hind track registering atop the front track) on each side of the body." Yet they named the pattern differently. In fact, the group was evenly divided in what it called this pattern with two people calling it a “2x2 lope,” two calling it a “2x2 bound,” and one fully inclusive person calling it a “2x2 lope or bound.”

So which is it? And does it matter?

There is not yet a consensus in the tracking literature, with both 2x2 lope and 2x2 bound being used—sometimes by the same author. The important considerations for us are if we can recognize this distinctive track pattern of the weasel family and communicate to our fellow trackers. And it seems we are able to do that, despite the uncooperative terminology.

January 2020 Natural Mystery

posted Jan 7, 2020, 11:55 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jan 7, 2020, 11:56 AM ]


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December 2019 Natural Mystery Answered

posted Jan 7, 2020, 11:18 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jan 7, 2020, 11:34 AM ]

Our December Natural Mystery was a bit of a trick question--but many of you were quick to see through the charade and correctly identified the critter that left this track. Congratulations to Chris Albert, Thom Bergstrom, Kim Cabrera, Paul Glasser, Rob Grunewald, Amy Manning, Megan, and Kirsten Welge who identified what species made this track.

This is the indirect-register of a domestic cat. The photo shows the left-side tracks--with a single toe from the front foot showing next to the full print of the hind. Let's get into how people worked this out.

Many of you began by considering, then eliminating, other candidates. Amy Manning points out that all of the local mammals that leave 5-toe tracks in this size range (such as skunk, mink, or a small raccoon) show distinct claw marks. While Thom Bergstrom succinctly states that the print "just didn’t look right for me as a mustelid."

Paul Glasser noted that "The print was in snow and I could see the fur imprint all around the track, meaning that what showed as the heel pad was all there was to the heel." Based on this, Paul eliminated species that have a longer heel that may register inconsistently, such as skunk, raccoon and marmot.

Kirsten Welge adds some more detailed notes distinguishing what we see here from weasel and skunk tracks:

"Weasel tracks show more negative space between toes and palm pad. Mustelid fronts will show more radial symmetry while mustelid hinds will show a more canid-like 'boxy' shape, with a larger gap between toe 2 and toe 1. In a skunk track, I'd expect to see claws registering in front of the toes. The toe structure doesn't match, either."

With these fived-toed animals eliminated, we need to consider other possibilities. And, as Amy points out "If you cover up the toe nearest to the ruler, this looks like a classic cat track." Kim Cabrera, Rob Grunewald and Kirsten added a few more details about what makes this a classic cat track:

"The negative space is C-shaped and the metatarsal pad is large related to toe size. Size is consistent with domestic cat. Bobcat would be larger. The leading toe shows that this is from the left side of the body."  -Kim

"The toes form a C-shape with a prominent palm pad, no claws showing, which is characteristic of a domestic cat. Left side in part because the second toe from the right side is longer than the third toe.
"  -Rob

"The track shows a large, slightly distorted M-shaped palm pad, C-shaped negative space and five small, teardrop shaped toe impressions. Toe 3 is the leading toe for felids, making this a left hind print."  -Kirsten


And, indeed, this is a domestic cat track. But cat tracks typically show four toes, not five. There were two different explanations offered for why this particular cat track might show five toes. As several people noted, domestic cats sometimes have extra toes. As Rob Grunewald shares:

"Cats can have extra toes, either polydactyl or feline radial hypoplasia. For polydactyl cats the extra toe(s) are separated from the normal ones like a dewclaw, while cats with radial hypoplasia have extra toes right next to the normal toes, which looks like this picture, one extra toe on the left side."

Kim Cabrera considers extra toes, and offers another explanation:

"One possibility is that this is a polydactyl cat, with five toes. But, I think this one is not a polydactyl cat. I think it's an overlap of prints because of the angle of that outside toe, which is from the front foot. The rest of the front track got obliterated by the hind track, which landed on top."

Kim is correct right that the arrangement of the toes isn't a fit for a polydactyl cat. But what about radial hypoplasia? I know for sure that this is an indirect register, because I was able to see the entire trail, but the photo only shows this one track. I am not familiar with the foot structure caused by hypoplasia in cats, so I don't know if we can rule that out based on morphology alone. Based on a little research, however, I think we could consider it highly unlikely. Feline radial hypoplasia describes the severe under-development of the radius (forearm bone), which can lead to the animal growing extra toes. Cats with this condition have abnormal posture, often sitting up on their hind legs like a squirrel. The condition is considered a fairly serious genetic defect, and caretakers of such cats are advised to keep them indoors and consult with a specialist veterinarian to provide the long-term management of their condition that is essential for good quality of life.


Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer, and congratulations again to Chris, Thom, Kim, Paul, Rob, Amy, Megan, and Kirsten for identifying this very unusual feline track.


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January Scavenger Hunt: Tiny Trails

posted Jan 7, 2020, 9:36 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jan 7, 2020, 9:37 AM ]

Last month's Scavenger Hunt yielded a number of observations of tiny trails -- 2x2 bounding patterns left behind by long-tailed shrews, deer mice, and meadow voles. A number of these trails look surprisingly similar. Which brings up the question, how can we distinguish between the trails of our smallest mammals? This can be even more of a challenge when the animal modifies its gait to accommodate deep snow (well, deep for a mouse at least).

This month, I invite you to join me in search of tiny trails. Seek out and identify trails left by members of the following groups:

1) A Mouse (Peromyscus species)
2) A Vole (Microtus species)
3) A Shrew (Family Soricidae)

For an added challenge, search out and distinguish the trails of:

1) A Long-Tailed Shrew (Sorex species)
2) A Short-Tailed Shrew (Blarina species)
3) Similar Size Trails from Other, Unrelated Animals (e.g. salamander, junco, least weasel, etc.)

Since some of these trails can look nearly identical, investigate (and document!) them well enough that both you and other observers can feel confident in the identification. Look for scat or other sign along the trail. Find where the trail begins or ends. Look for changes in gait.

I look forward to seeing what you find, and learning more about how to distinguish the trails of our tiniest track-makers.

Share What You Find

Please share what you find to our iNaturalist project: Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project: Scavenger Hunt. This is an open project, and anyone with an iNaturalist account can join and add observations.

You can set up an iNaturalist account here.
And join the project here.

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