Arctic animal tracks

Winter river valleys are also where you are most likely to see wildlife or, as is more often the case, see their tracks in the snow. Most prominent for actual sightings are the willow ptarmigan with their funny clucking/cackling calls.

Often more content to run than fly they leave their mark everywhere

as they travel between small clumps of dwarf trees looking for fresh buds to peck.

A six legged alligator… or more prosaically a ptarmigan taking off!

A ptarmigan landing

& I didn’t know what these tracks belonged to for a long time and in many ways that’s the point for me – the Arctic is full of unfamiliar signs that make me curious.

Pam Hi, I went out tracking this morning after Nemo the blizzard, and found a track like the one you have at the bottom of the Arctic Animal Tracks page – you mention that you didn’t know what the tracks belonged to for a long time. The large prints in my set are about 3.7″ wide and 4.4″ long, and the small prints are about 2.8″ wide and 2.6″ long. They are in the exact same arrangement as yours, and seem to have four toes on each print. The straddle is about 11″ and I think the leap is about 12″. I’m going to continue searching for an identification, but am hoping you might help me out by sharing yours. I live in Maine, by the way.
Thank you,

Angus Mill Hi Pam,

I believe the tracks are from a snowshoe hare, the big paw prints at the front are in fact made by the hind legs and the little prints at the back are the front legs – makes sense if you think of how they run. Enjoy the snow!

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