Identifying Animal Tracks and other Wildlife Tracking Skills

measuring a cougar trail

Identifying animal tracks & sign, as well as interpreting and trailing, are primary skills of the wildlife tracker. Historically, animal tracking skills helped people find food, avoid dangerous predators, and read the stories on the landscape. Wildlife tracking skills continue to be valuable today and are being employed in wildlife research, conservation, and outdoor education.

Identifying animal tracks and sign can open up an unseen world, a window into the lives of shy and elusive animals. Tracks, scat, feeding sign, beds, scent marking, trails and other types of animal sign point to which animals passed by, what they did, where they went, and much more. Seemingly barren ground becomes alive with a diversity of fascinating information.

This section of the online library contains an expanding offering of animal tracking articles, as well as many pictures of animal tracks & sign. Articles often include references to excellent books, resources, and classes. We hope you enjoy these resources.

You can peruse the articles below and/or sign up to the Alderleaf eNewsletter to get updates on new articles.



Identifying Animal Tracks and other Wildlife Tracking Articles:

How to Identify Deer Tracks from Similar Footprints
Illustrations and track characteristics highlighting key features that can be used to identify deer tracks from other hoofed mammals within the same size range. (read more)

Bobcat Tracks: Determining Male versus Female
Bobcat tracks often display characteristics that allow one to determine the gender of the animal that passed by. (read more)

Tracking Owls & Woodpeckers: Mar 2008 issue of the Alderleaf eNewsletter Zygo-what? All owls and woodpeckers have a unique footprint that can be easily identified... (read more)

Fox Track and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying gray and red fox tracks and sign.
(read more)

Coyote Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying coyote tracks and sign.
(read more)

Mountain Lion Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying mountain lion tracks and sign.
(read more)

Raccoon Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying raccoon tracks and sign.
(read more)

Skunk Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying skunk tracks and sign.
(read more)

Black-tailed Deer Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying black-tailed deer tracks and sign.
(read more)

Hare and Rabbit Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying hare and rabbit tracks and sign.
(read more)

American Black Bear Tracks and Sign: A Field Guide Account
Key characteristics for identifying American black bear tracks and sign.
(read more)

Trailing Tips: Oct 2007 back-issue of the Alderleaf eNewsletter
Guest instructor, Adriaan Louw, shared tips for trailing animals through difficult terrain... (read more)

Mice & Vole Tracks: Sept 2007 back-issue of the Alderleaf eNewsletter Identifying Animal Tracks and Sign: Learning to Differentiate Vole, Jumping Mouse, and Deer Mouse Tracks... (read more)

Snake Tracks: Understanding Serpent Locomotion
There is nothing quite like seeing the sinuous lines left behind on the ground in snake tracks. Serpents around the world strike people with strong feelings... (read more)

The Best Locations for Tracking Animals
An interactive map that allows wildlife trackers and enthusiasts to find and share great places for observing animal tracks and sign... (read more)

A List of Mammals in North America
Common and scientific names are included for each species. Both aquatic and land mammals are included in this list of mammals... (read more)

Badger Habitat
Learning more about badger habitat can help you to better understand the American badger(Taxidea taxus)... (Read more)

Coyote Habitat
Knowing coyote habitat will help you to better understand... (Read more)

Wild Turkey Habitat
Learning more about wild turkey habitat can help you to better understand... (Read More).

Recognizing Wolverine Habitat
Learning to know what makes good wolverine habitat can help you...
(Read more).

Recognizing Bobcat Habitat
Learning to know where bobcat habitat is found can help you know...
(read more)

Recognizing Woodpecker Habitat
What places make good woodpecker habitat? To answer that question...(read more)

Mammal Tracks & Sign: A Book Review
This is the most thorough and comprehensive book to tracking mammals available today...(read more)

Recognizing Moose Habitat
Come and learn more on how to recognize moose habitat through their tracks and sign...(read more)

Tracking Animals: Understanding the Basics
Identifying animal tracks tells a great deal about the animals around us, and helps us better understand our wild neighbors...(read more)

Wolf Tracks and Sign
Learn key characteristics for recognizing the tracks and sign of wolves...(read more)

Bird Tracks: Identification
Learn some of the keys to help you to identify wild bird tracks in the field...(read more)

Cat Tracks: North American Species
Cat tracks are distinct and often relatively easy to identify with practice...(read more)

Finding Quality Tracking Instructors
If you're interested in learning to track wildlife or humans, you might find it difficult to know where to start and specifically, who to seek out for training...(read more)


Learn about Wildlife Tracking Courses at Alderleaf



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