Once you are able to identify the track of each species you will want to learn the nuances of each foot so you can tell which individual foot made the track. If multiple tracks are found you should be able to determine the gait the animal was using. On each of the following pages there will be information about the track in general followed by tips to discern the front track from the rear and right from the left. Each page will conclude with information on the most common gaits.
Knowledge of the general shape of the animal’s foot and whether the front or rear track is the larger is important as is knowing how many digits will show in each track. When numbering the digits you always start with the inside or first digit even though through evolution the animal no longer shows that digit or it has migrated up the leg and no longer registers. On the human hand the thumb would be number one and the little finger would be number five.
OCTRACKERS offers the following simplified way to help you remember the number of digits that show in the front and rear foot for each species found in the County:
Dogs, cats and rabbits * are 4 X 4's - Rodents including squirrels are 4 X 5's - All others are 5 X 5's
Scratching, spraying and depositing scat is all part of a complex communications system within the animal kingdom. Learn about other physical evidence to be considered by visiting the "Litter Box".