13 December 2005

Squirrel tracks in snow

When I first saw these tracks last Friday, I ruled out deer and thought they had been left by a rabbit. But after I started following them, I noticed that they were going from one tree to another, which suggested that they were made by a gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. In some of the tracks I could see faint imprints of toes.

Then I noticed some paw prints near one of the tracks (below). These were so delicate and faint that if I hadn’t been paying attention, I’d have stepped right on them. These prints identified the animal definitely as a squirrel. Compare them with my photo of squirrel prints left in cement.

The drawing below should explain how a squirrel creates its track pattern.

Drawing from Anonymous. Animal Tracks, Stackpole Co., 1954.


Pamela Martin said...

Do you have red squirrels in your area? I just recently observed that a red squirrel travelling under snow just like smaller rodents do (no diving in and out like the weasels though--but all business, to get from place to place under cover). You need deeper snow though!


Red squirrels? I don't know. I have to check.