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Quiz #3 - Answer

  

The answer is: RED FOX.

This was actually a tough quiz because it can be so hard to distinguish between fox & coyote. In this case, I happen to know it is a male red fox because I have seen him, watched him mark his territory, smelled his odor, and measured his tracks many times in this exact spot, it's his regular route. If I came across these tracks in a new area, I don't think I could say FOX with certainty, but I would probably guess
fox, see below. 

Foot size matches red fox, gray fox, bobcat, or a small coyote. The mixed forested & open habitat is ideal for red fox. The city park location next to a house pretty much rules out gray fox & bobcat. If this were the range of Western Coyote, foot size would match a full-size coyote, but one clue was the photo was Connecticut; most Eastern Coyote tracks I have encountered are 2-2" wide. => Suggests red fox.

The stride of 14" could also match any of the above 4. But note that for a diagonal walk, while it is possible for coyote or bobcat to have a walking stride of 14" like this, my observations have been that the
trail width would be wider. => Suggests red fox.

I'm not sure, but I also have the impression that a coyote would tend to go around or jump over the logs, and a bobcat would tend to go out of direct register and/or widen its stance if stepping on the logs. =>
Suggests red fox.

The skunky odor is also a prime clue for red fox. Field guides say the skunky odor is strongest in Dec-Feb, and I have smelled this odor from this particular fox many times during that time of year when he is marking territory. This instance was the only time I have ever detected an odor from his footprints, though (the tracks were very fresh, that's why I crouched down to sniff them). => Suggests red fox. 

Hope you enjoyed the quiz and thank you for playing. Stay tuned for the next one

Brian

  

Quiz #3 - Question      ...on to Quiz #4

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