whitefordj's picture

Small mammal print

Observed: 14th January 2010 By: whitefordjwhitefordj’s reputation in Mammalswhitefordj’s reputation in Mammals

Small print in the snow

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the naturalist man's picture

This is a hard one.

This is a hard one, all we have is one clear print, distorted my snow melt, and a possible cluster. I think the clear print is a hind foot because of the size, it is much larger and in most animals the hind feet are larger than the fore feet. The pattern of toes could be stoat, rat, weasel or even squirrel.

I don't think it is rat because the first and fifth toes usually splay out at 90 degrees, these are less than that. Squirrel would not usually be so deep and show so much hind pad also the centre three toes should be the same size and in parralel, only two are. It is impossible to tell stoat from weasel, except on size; these would appear to be too large for weasel, even with snow melt. HOWEVER, there is the problem of snow melt which would mask and/or distort all of the above distinguishing features, except weasel size I think.

The cluster: it is OK for rat but in snow this deep there should be a drag line from the tail, short of a tailess rat I think rat is out. In snow I'd expect a squirrel to be jumping, therefore the hind legs would be forward of the fore legs, not so here. Weasels tend not to group like this. That leaves stoat though I am by no means sure in this case. Something better than a shoe print for size comparison would have been good also did you notice how far apart the print clusters were?

Graham Banwell

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whitefordj's picture

Thanks Graham that's useful.

Thanks Graham that's useful. Unfortuantely I didn't measure the print size or distance between and the snow has unfortuantely melted. Your observations are very useful, thank you.