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May 2019 Natural Mystery Answered

posted Jun 4, 2019, 6:17 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jun 4, 2019, 6:22 PM ]
Our May Natural Mystery was an unusual trail--wet footprints on asphalt. Though little detail is visible, a number of you puzzled this one out and correctly interpreted what happened here. Congratulations to Leah, Kim Cabrera, Brendan White, Amy Jacobs and Sandy Reed who correctly identified the sign and the species that left it. And a special congratulations to Shelly Montana who not only identified the species, but also deduced the exact circumstances of the tracks being made! I'll let Shelly take it from here:

I see the wet tracks starting at bottom of the photo, the animals stops when first entering the road as I see 2 drip marks behind the 2 round side by side tracks. I believe these to be front tracks. They seem too round to be coyote.The animals then walks as it takes a few steps, stops and shakes off the water. This produces a good bit of water left behind. The animal also seems to wander in the style of a drunk. Maybe sniffing the road as it’s crossing. This is not the sign of a wild animal as they usually move in straight line from point A to Point B. I believe this to be a Domestic Dog. Also the area is a rural, and a residential area. This is also good sign for domestic dog. I believe the person that took the photo had to see the animal make this sign to be able to take a photo of such fresh wet tracks and sign, as he must have been out walking with the dog while looking for wildlife tracks and sign.

That is exactly right. Three of us who were in Bemidji to take a Track & Sign Evaluation with David Moskowitz rented an Air BnB just outside of town. We were out for a walk the evening before the evaluation, exploring the neighborhood and looking for tracks and sign, accompanied by the property's resident yellow lab, Olaf. Shelly's interpretation of Olaf's behavior is uncanny, and a prefect description of what we saw that evening.

Incidentally, Olaf also had quite a nose for finding dead things. Earlier in the walk he brought us the rotting, partially degloved head of a woodchuck. We got some photos of that as well, but chose to use this sing for the natural mystery! Here is a photo of us with Olaf a just a little later in our walk.

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