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Makin' Tracks

Tracking Guide

Tracking Guide - Page 3


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Making Tracks!

NatureNorth's Tracking Guide - Page 2

Ursidae (Bears)

Bear tracks are unmistakable by virtue of their size and shape. They have 5 toes front and hind with large pads and distinct claw marks. Only in the far north will you need to distinguish between the two kinds. They are less apt to place the hind foot in the print of the front foot than a wild canid, but their feet commonly do overlap in a walking gait.

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
Front = 12 x 10 cm, hind 18 x 9 cm, stride = 40-50 cm (walk: left to right foot). Throughout the province. You're not likely to see black bear tracks in snow except in early or late winter.

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
Front = 22 x 22 cm, hind 30 x 24 cm, stride = 80-100 cm (walk: left to right foot). Only along the coast of Hudson's Bay.

Procyonidae (Raccoons)

The raccoon has 5 toes front and hind, with distinct claw marks. The hind foot has an elongated pad, much like a bear's.

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Front = 5 x 4 cm, hind 9 x 4 cm, stride = 20-30 cm (walk: left to right foot). Raccoon tracks in snow can be seen in early and late winter along waterways in southern Manitoba.

Mustelidae (Weasels)

Members of this family have 5 toes front and hind, often with inverted "V" shaped central pads. Claw marks are not as obvious as for dogs. Often the smaller 5th toe print may be obscured. Front and hind feet are about the same size. They move with a bounding gait, where the two front feet strike the ground side-by-side and the hind feet, also placed side-by-side, land in the prints of the front feet. The overall effect is that of pairs of tracks laid out in a line. Larger mustelids tend to offset their foot placement somewhat so their paw prints are not perfectly side-by-side.

Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis)
Front and hind = .7 x .7 cm, stride = 15-20 cm. Throughout the province.

Short-Tailed Weasel, Ermine (Mustela erminea)
Front and hind = 1 x 1 cm, stride = 20-30 cm. Throughout the province.

Long-Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)
Front and hind = 1.5 x 1.5 cm, stride = 25-40 cm. Mainly in southwestern Manitoba.

Mink (Mustela vison)
Front and hind = 3 x 2 cm, stride = 35-50 cm. Throughout the province. Found near water bodies and wetlands.

Marten (Martes americana)
Front and hind = 3 x 2 cm, stride = 35-50 cm. Throughout the northern 2/3's of the province, in mature coniferous forests.

Fisher (Martes pennanti)
Front and hind = 4.5 x 4.5 cm, stride = 50 cm. Throughout the northern 2/3's of the province, in mature coniferous forests.

Otter (Lontra canadensis)
[Shown] Front and hind = 8 x 6 cm, stride = 40-75 cm. Throughout Manitoba, but always near water. Webbing on hind feet will show in tracks.

Badger (Taxidea taxus)
[Shown] Front and hind = 6 x 4 cm, stride = 25 cm (walk: left to right foot). Has very long front claws. Found mainly in southwestern Manitoba.

Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
Front and hind = 11 x 8 cm, stride = 75-100 cm. Rare throughout the northern 2/3's of Manitoba.

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