verygneiss's picture

Track in snow

Observed: 8th December 2010 By: verygneiss
DSCF1895
Description:

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.

Identifications

No identification made yet.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

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

Hi

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.