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October 2018 Natural Mystery Answered

posted Nov 13, 2018, 7:27 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Nov 13, 2018, 7:28 PM ]
Our October Natural Mystery was an extremely challenging track, but several of you rose to the occasion and offered good guesses. The most common response was a hare. Though surprisingly similar looking, this is not the track of a hare. The details of the barely visible palm pad; exact arrangement of toes; lack of fur; and the long, sharp claws set high on the toes all point us in a different direction. Kirsten Welge puzzled through all the clues and came up with the correct identification. This is a domestic cat track. Kirsten offered the following points in her detailed answer:

"Claws are registering - which is unlikely, but possible with cats. Claws look like they’re set high on the toe, judging from the clear “bridge” of sand between deep toe pad impression and the claw indentations.

Track is asymmetrical. The two toes on the left are set further back than the corresponding two on the right. Plus, the palm pad is closer to the toes nearer the ruler.

The palm pad registers faintly behind the toe pads. That pad looks like the classic feline “m” shape (or so I’ve convinced myself!) and is roughly the area of 3+ toe pads.

The track looks slightly wider than it is tall, when accounting for the additional claw drag.

Negative space is felid-like, with toes wrapping around the palm pad.

Thanks to everyone who submitted answers to this extremely difficult Natural Mystery.