Ever wonder about the story behind the tracks in your garden or local park? I certainly have, to the point of taking a tracking course with the world famous Tom Brown Jr. It was thrilling to learn the language that reveals who was there just hours before me and what they were up to. He even helped us see tracks in the finest dust and in grass!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I only scratched the surface of finding, let alone interpreting, these markings…and I forgot a fair bit of it, too. But from time to time I’ll stop and look and have a guess. Take this past weekend for example. I went for a wander in my garden and noticed tracks of animals I knew; snowshoe hare, squirrel, mice…but I also found some mystery tracks. The look of the individual track reminded me of a fox or coyote because of its dog-like shape and pad imprints. But I wasn’t sure about the size and I had thought foxes made a single straight line like a cat, unlike the ones I found.
The next day a red fox went strolling by, along the very same route! I managed to get photos of it and its fresh tracks (with a toonie at the side to give perspective). While the pattern was different, the individual tracks looked identical to my amateur eye. Paul Rezendes, in his wonderful book Tracking and the Art of Seeing, explains that foxes do make a single line of tracks when walking as “the hind track registers directly on top of the front”, but that when they go a little quickly as in a trot or gallop, they make different patterns.
To view a gallery of this fox and its tracks, visit our page on Facebook. If you wish, “like” it and tell your friends!