Monday, January 05, 2009

Track of the Week 15

Setting: Mid April 2008 Sitka, Alaska. These tracks were moving parallel to the water along the beach.

1. What species?
These are fairly classic mustelid tracks with the 5 bulbous(ish) toes in an arc like that and heel pad with one "wing" larger. Sometimes they look a lot like canine tracks, particularly if the small toe 1 doesn't show up. Based on the size and location we can narrow down to mink (Neovison vison)

2. What Gait?
It is moving in a lope, notice the somewhat larger 1st and 3rd tracks as well as how the 2nd and 4th have more space between the toes and heel pad. This indicates that the feet fall in a front hind front hind pattern.

3. Which feet are which?
As mentioned in the answer to question 2, the feet fall in a front hind front hind pattern. Lefts and rights can be determined by which side of the center line the feet fall, also because the lowest toe is the inner toe - assuming all 5 toes show up, the inner toe is a little difficult to see in the first two tracks.

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