verygneiss's picture

Track in snow

Observed: 8th December 2010 By: verygneiss

As a geologist, I was intrigued by this latter-day trace fossil, but I cannot think what would create it. There don't seem to be any parallel footprints, which might indicate a fox dragging its tail, so I suspect a small mammal of some type. There is a garden cane (1m long) in the foreground for scale, and the footprints at the top of the track are those of a fat housecat.
The trail is in powder snow, so this might have resulted in small footprints etc. being erased by the wind.


No identification made yet.

Species interactions

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anonymous spotter's picture

Small mammal -

I think that you're right, this is the most likely type of producer - which one, I have no idea!

Mark at Magdalen's picture

I know voles excavate runs

I know voles excavate runs under the snow so they can continue grazing out of sight (but not from hearing) of predators and insulated from the cold. I suspect this is one of these runs with has collapsed, maybe as a result of the snow shifting with temperature changes.

verygneiss's picture


The vole-tunnel collapse hypothesis is intriguing, I hadn't thought of that. It would certainly explain the lack of visible tracks, and the fairly even profile of the tunnel.

I have seen voles in my garden before, so this might add weight to this.

The snow has melted now, so I suppose I'll never know. When it returns, I'll try and excavate one of these tracks, and see if there's any evidence of a tunnel collapse.