Tracking Nighttime Visitors

Winter is a great time to figure out who is hanging out at the park when no one is looking.  Prints in the mud and snow allow you to identify the creature who made them, and a series of tracks can tell a whole story.  

The tracks below are that of a raccoon, a common nighttime marauder at Silver Falls.  The raccoon’s hind tracks are larger than its front—with five toes on each, they resemble the human hand and foot. 

When walking, the stocky raccoon is a “waddler,” moving the front and hind limbs on one side of the body at the same time.  When moved to pick up the pace (perhaps due to a visit by the evening ranger), a raccoon will start to “gallop,” moving the front feet together and then the hind.

Where was this raccoon headed?  Look closely.  Fortunately, it was foiled by a latch this time around!

 

 

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