Saturday, August 22, 2009

Coyote tracks and domestic dog tracks.

Do you know the difference between domestic dog and coyote tracks?
If you look closely, the tracks of the back and front foot of your average domestic dog are almost identical. Coyotes are a different story. Upon close examination, you’ll notice that front foot of a coyote is slightly larger than that of the back. The shape of the pads are also different.

The coyote’s front pad is shaped like a frown and the back pad is shaped somewhat like lips. Another way to tell the difference between coyote and dog tracks is by the pattern left in soft substrate like mud, snow, sand etc. A coyote needs to conserve energy as it never knows when its next meal is coming from and so when it runs (lopes), it will place the back foot in the print made by the front foot, creating a single line of prints which tend to be straight and usually cross open areas. Dogs tend to run with their feet side by side, making two parallel sets of tracks, which tend to meander in any direction.

There ya go then. Don’t spend half of your day tracking Lassie while Ol’ Wiley Coyote is watching and laughing from a nearby hillside.

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