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Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Animal Tracks in Snow
Which animals have been running around in the snow at Nature Boardwalk? I took a walk around today (being extra careful now that it’s getting icy out there). Here are some of the tracks I found.
Rabbit tracks look like Ys. The two smaller forefeet register behind the parallel, larger hindfeet. They often fall in a slightly staggered arrangement rather than being directly side-by-side. In rabbits and squirrels, the hindfeet are quite a bit longer and larger than the forefeet, but they register in front of the animal’s forefeet when the animal is bounding along.
Squirrel tracks tend to look like Ws. Also, squirrel tracks may lead to a tree and disappear there (because the squirrel ran up the tree!). Rabbit tracks, on the other hand, don’t do this.
Lastly, these small parallel lines in the snow are left by the feathers on a bird’s wings. I don’t know what species of bird this is, and there were all sorts of tracks in the area going every which way. Was it a bird swooping down to catch prey in the snow? Maybe, but I really can’t tell with all of the other tracks here. You can make up your own story!
I encourage you to look around in the snow and see what tracks you can find. Tracks can tell some pretty interesting stories!
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
By transforming the South Pond into Nature Boardwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo has created an urban ecosystem in the heart of the city. Enjoy a virtual view as native plants and animals establish themselves in this rare refuge.
As Lincoln Park Zoo’s director of horticulture, Brian oversees the zoo’s gardens, from bud to bloom.
As coordinator of wildlife management, Mason chronicles the bugs, birds, fish, insects, mammals and more that make their homes at Nature Boardwalk.
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