Stargs's picture

Mystery paw prints on the beach

Observed: 31st January 2010 By: Stargs

Largeish paw prints, (though smaller than large dog's) showing no claws, apparently walking not running, and not associated with another animal or human

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Urophora's picture

Whose are the bootprints at

Whose are the bootprints at top left on the same bearing as the animal trail?

And why is the pic tagged as 'big cat'?

the naturalist man's picture

Dog prints

These are dog prints, the gait is right for a dog walking and the print has a triangular rear pad. I think the reason they look strange is the softish sand has distorted the shape and the dog has splayed its toes to prevent sinking. One or two of the rear pads look a little half-moon shaped (badger) but if you blow the photo up on Photoshop you can see they are triangular. Also, if badger, I'd expect the fifth claw to show in such deep prints.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'

Stargs's picture

paw prints

Thank you for your comments. I am happy to bow to your superior knowledge, but find it strange that other (dog) prints on the same patch of sand clearly show claws. The sand was actually not that soft, but it may have been when first uncovered. Strange also that the animal was walking by itself.

Urophora's picture

You say that 'the animal was

You say that 'the animal was walking by itself', but there are 3 clear bootprints at top left, just right for someone walking alongside the dog (it *is* a dog). It might be that the two trails are unconnected, but the bootprints cannot just be ignored without explanation.

the naturalist man's picture


If you saw prints from my two dogs on a beach you would not think it strange they are not near any human prints! The pair of them are usually very well behaved and stay close, utill they get on a beach that is. On a beach they go mad and run all over the place, walking when they catch an interesting scent.

I agree the lack of claw marks is unusual, One possibility is it had high set claws so would only leave marks if the dog was running, rolling forward on its pads. If the sand was hard the dog would not sink very far, especially as it has splayed its toes. There is also the possibility the claw marks were faint and the grains of sand have simply filed the marks in.

Other animals of this size, e.g. badger, always leave deep claw marks. The exception would be a 'big cat', e.g. leopard or puma. Their prints are similar to a dog's print, and yours, however the size and gait are wrong - but now we are moving into the realms of fantasy! Certainly such animals were released into the wild in Britain during the 1970's when the dangerous animals act was introduced, but are they still around, with no confirmed sightings? I doubt it.

There's a chalange for iSpot observers, find actual evidence of a 'big cat' in the British countryside!

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'

Gill Sinclair's picture

Dog paw prints

If I take my dog to the beach, his paw prints usually lead straight to the sea roughly in the direction of Norway. He would be completely bemused by the concept of staying close to his owner with all that lovely water out there:-) However, he is usually dragging some huge piece of driftwood, so maybe his tracks would look like an animal with a massive, swept 'round tail?!

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

Blewit Boy's picture

It's definitely.......

It's definitely a puma, or it could be a jaguar.


mattcross's picture

Its a dog....

Its just clearly a dog.