October 2021 Natural Mystery Answered

Last month’s natural mystery was an uncommon presentation for the animal, and we received a variety of guesses. Answers included reptiles, amphibians, and mammals both large and small. Two of you sorted out the clues and correctly identified these unusual tracks. Congratulations to Mike Holtz, one of our newsletter's Grey Wolf patrons, and Kirsten Welge, who is taking a break from her winning streak to provide us with our November Natural Mystery.

As Mike explains succinctly, "These are full body frog tracks, moving right to left in a short hop. You can make out the back legs angling out, the body, and a bit of the front legs."

Kirsten goes into a bit more detail, breaking down what she sees, and her interpretation:

"What I see:

  • 2 clusters of indentations deep in the substrate, arranged in a straight line.

  • In each cluster, 4 impressions are visible around a larger oval compression. In the left cluster, I clearly see lighter marks trailing and paralleling the heavier right-side compressions.

  • Each track measures about 1” in length.


This is a match for an anurid (frog or toad) traveling to the left: check out the smaller indentations from the shorter front legs at left, the longer lines left by the hind legs to the right, and the clear egg-shaped body print with a narrow head and wider butt. Cute!"

Mike pointed out that we probably can’t narrow this down to a species, but suggested that Northern Leopard Frog as a likely candidate. I agree on both counts. Leopard frogs are among the most common track-makers in the area. The size is on the small size, but not unreasonable. If any of you have thoughts on how to narrow down our options based on the proportions of the body and limbs, I would love to hear.

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