Tracks in the snow

18 January 2016 | 0 comments

imageOne of the many delights of snowshoeing is having the time to look at the animal tracks in the snow. Today Sally gave me a lovely gift of this book, and I’m inspired to write a little about what we’ve seen, and what I’ll be looking out for next time.

In the forest above Vallorcine there was a real mixture of tracks following  a path covered with a layer of fresh snow.  The fox prints were quite distinct, likely to be the red fox. Fox prints are similar to those of a domestic dog,  with four ‘claws’ at the front. imageHowever the fox print  is longer and thinner, and the other clue, for us, was that clearly no human had been along the path yet that day. As they move in the snow, foxes place their back paws into the print made by thier front paws, giving a distinctive linear trail.

We also saw hoof prints which will have been ibex or chamois. The hoof pattern changes depending on how the animal is moving (bimbling along or leaping around).

Chamois prints

Chamois prints

I’d love to see the prints of the elusive lynx, at least I know what to look for now:

Cat print vs Lynx print

Cat print vs Lynx print

Finally a there’s the squirrel trail in the Chamonix garden. Although our local squirrel is currently very black, we think it is a red squirrel (who do have different colourings apparently). It is  the most common squirrel here and our black tree scamperer has the taller pointy ears and right body shape. The first clue about squirrel tracksis that they will probably start and end at the base of the tree. Actually the trail in our garden is a bit of a messy series of oval blobs caused by the bobbing tail almost obliterating the paw prints!


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