Tracking Quiz website

Tracking Quizzes

Quiz #6 - Question

  

  • Habitat: Marsh, with 2 lakes, next to a railroad, and surrounded by oak woodlands. Suburb just outside of Hartford, CT.

  • Time of year: Late November.  One of the lakes was frozen, but the ice was soft & weak [see photo D1].  This was the first time in the season the lake had frozen.  The other lake, which has a stronger current going from inlet to outlet, had not fully frozen yet. 

  • Substrate: 5 inches of fresh, soft snow.

  

If you look closely at photo D1, you can see this animal has been traversing all over the place on top of the lake's soft ice.

Photo D1

  

Photo D2 shows 2 trails going both in & out of the unfrozen lake.

Photo D2

  

Photo D3 shows an intersection of 2 trails on the isthmus between the lakes.  Note the animal's belly makes full contact with the snow as it moves forward.  The ground is level here.  Trail width = 8".

Photo D3

  

Photos D4 & D5 are more zoomed in.  Note the footprints don't have any repeating pattern; very random looking, not really possible to measure a "stride".

Photo D4

  

Photo D5

  

Photos D6 & D7 are close-ups of the footprints.  Individual tracks measured about 2" wide by 2" long.

Photo D6

  

Photo D7

  

Photos D8 & D9 show the animal's scat.  Notice it is dark green, rather "mucousy", and has fish scales & fish bones in it.

Photo D8

  

Photo D9

  

If you're still not sure after looking at D1-D9, then photo D10 ought to seal the deal.  The animal was going across snow on the isthmus, and skidded to a stop on its belly, directly on top of a less-than-fully frozen puddle.  The result was a wet imprint in the snow, outlining its full body, including paws, neck & chin, belly, and tail.

Photo D10

  

Quiz #6 - Answer

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