- The mystery animal is CHIPMUNK.
In this case, this little
fellow (or gal) was a Townsend’s Chipmunk.
- Direction of travel: In photo 43D, the chipmunk was traveling
from the bottom to the top of the photo.
- The larger prints are the hind feet, and the smaller prints are
the front feet.
In the chipmunk’s bounding gait, it pushes off with its hind feet
and springs forward with the front feet. The front feet, which are very
tiny and propeled with tiny legs, land and push off with much less
force than the hind feet. In doing this, the chipmunk splays open its
hind legs such that they basically “wrap around” the front legs, and
the hind feet end up landing forward of the prints of the front feet.
The 4 prints as a group form sort of a “V” or “W” shape – this is a
classic pattern of tracks made by small rodents.
This was a
tough backpacking trip, as the temperature dipped down to 7°F (-14°C)
overnight. But it was well worth it, with the glorious scenery of the
North Cascades that was made even brighter by the sighting of this
little chipmunk. A fabulous weekend in the wilderness.