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Tracks in the Snow

notes by Gill Smith

The long spell of snow cover we had this winter showed just how much animal activity there is in the countryside, with numerous tracks seen wherever one went: in the garden, in the fields and woods, along footpaths, tracks and roadsides, even in the snow lying on frozen ponds and lakes. In addtion to the ubiquitous rabbits, hare and fox tracks were common. Tom and Janet had stoat and field vole tracks at Sykes house, shown in the article Winter Watch.

Tessa Watson found some intriguing marks in the snow which were probably made by moles. She writes “They are 4 cm in diameter with exit holes as in the close-up, but no sign at all of footmarks around exits. There were vast numbers of other bird & small animal tracks and graceful wing-marks, but these puzzled us completely.”

mole tracks in snow mole tracks in snow
mole tracks in snow The third photo is a close-up of the entrance/exit hole of the tunnel seen above; Tessa notes “There were several ‘proper’ mole hills, bursting up, volcanically, through the crisping snow, but no sign of moles treading the fresh snow around”.

I saw several tracks which I think were made by foxes (like a rather delicate dog-print all falling in a single straight line) but failed to take any good pictures. I did however manage to snap these which I believe are badger prints (the snow looks so blue because it was taken in deep shade).

badger tracks in snow

badger tracks in snow

...a few days after the snow had gone I saw these badger prints in the mud along the edge of a field – an interesting comparison.

Text © Gill Smith & Ryedale Natural History Society 2010
Photos © Tessa Watson and Gill Smith 2010
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