Wild Wonders: Tracks and Traces

While animals are on the landscape year-round, winter snow makes it easier to see who has been visiting your backyard or local park. Learn who’s been in your neighborhood by deciphering the clues they leave behind!

Create Your Own Animal Tracks

Tools:

  • Maine Animal Tracks sheet and a marker
  • Tempera paint, paintbrush or cotton swab.
  • Paper

 Before You Explore:

Consider these questions: Have you ever seen animal tracks in the snow, mud or sand? How do your tracks differ from animal tracks?

To learn more about how to tell which animal left tracks, play “Animal Track Detective!” from SciShow Kids: https://youtu.be/Xz02S-CizAU!

Connect with Nature:

Dive Deeper!

Suggested Reading: Animal Tracks and Traces by naturalist, Mary Holland


Animal Tracks Scavenger Hunt

Tools:

Before You Explore:

Can you identity an animal by its tracks in the snow? Can you tell from the tracks how fast it was moving? What direction it was going? What animal tracks do you think you could find today?

Check out this super cool video on how to identify and follow wildlife signs: https://youtu.be/pBrrr-RUUaM

Check out www.btlt.org/trails for local spots to explore for your Tracks & Traces Hunt!

Connect with Nature:

  • A great time to look for tracks in the snow is just after a winter storm. You can also adventure onto a local trail to find snow untouched by humans that can still have clear animal tracks – even weeks after a storm!
  • Grab your Animal Tracks Scavenger Hunt sheet, a pencil, and something to write on and set out with a friend or family member to see what signs of animals you can find in the snow. Pick a new place to explore or head out to your own backyard, woods, or a nearby field.
  • Place a checkmark next to each track you see on the sheet and try to answer the question that goes along with each track.
  • At the end of your hunt, tally up your score to see what kind of tracker you are!

Dive Deeper!

River otters can make some very interesting tracks – check out these two videos to see otters in action http://bit.ly/ottersslide and the tracks they make http://bit.ly/riverottertracks in the snow! Try to re-create an otter track in the snow next time you’re out sledding!