Help me identify some animal tracks
February 3, 2015 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Last night I happened to take a look at my snow covered deck and noticed what appeared to be some animal tracks in the snow. It appears to me there are track from two or three distinct animals. I'm hoping someone can help identify them.

Imgur gallery here. First two pics show an overview of the prints, and the next three are closeups. The first closeup is of some prints off to the side of my deck and doesn't appear in the first two pics. The next two closeups are of the tracks in the first two pics. For reference, I'm located in a suburban, central Ohio neighborhood with a fenced in back yard. Anyone have any ideas as to what might be hanging out on my deck?
posted by noneuclidean to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The last one is from a rabbit, I'm pretty sure.
posted by dorque at 4:33 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think it is a housecat/domestic cat for the bigger one and a rabbit.
posted by bartonlong at 4:35 PM on February 3, 2015

I'm gonna say Eastern Cottontail for the smaller (classic rabbit track) and Mink for the larger. The bounding gait of Mink and other weasels leaves that distinctive twin-track pattern. Might have been tracking the rabbit, hoping for dinner.
posted by Lycaon_pictus at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2015

Yeah, the four-together thing is a rabbit for sure.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:38 PM on February 3, 2015

Yes, two big back feet and two little feet is a bunny.

The hopalong is a little more complicated. Lycaon's mink idea is excellent, but do you see many mink in your area? I feel like mink feet might be smaller but I might be wrong about that. Marten are similar to mink with larger feet, I think, but they also have a slightly different gait. Could it be a raccoon hopping along? They are common and goofy critters, and if the suspected tracks change gait from the mink-style gait, I think it's a coon that switched from running to bounding.
posted by littlewater at 7:29 PM on February 3, 2015

Gnomes! With a bunny!

It's hard to say. With a bunny you usually gets a sitz mark from their wittle cotton tails which I don't see here. But the pattern says bunny most likely to me. Except for that set that is the walking Gnomes.
posted by amanda at 8:04 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just did a Google image search for "bunny tracks in snow" and looks like I'm wrong about a sitz mark. A similar search for 'mink' isn't looking quite right but 'squirrel' is promising. The pictures I found of gnome tracks clearly are not...I don't know what people are drinking.
posted by amanda at 8:10 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Rabbit is right for the big and little set, and I believe your other tracks are from a red fox, hunting the rabbit. They have a much more rounded print than a coyote, and raccoon and possum have very hand-like prints.
posted by Gneisskate at 7:23 AM on February 4, 2015

It wouldn't be a red fox; there are no claw marks and the toes aren't bifurcated (red fox tracks). And it's definitely a bounding track, which makes it most likely a member of the weasel family.

From your location, the weasels there are the lesser weasel, the mink and the short-tailed weasel (stoat). From the size, I'd guess a stoat.
posted by klangklangston at 9:55 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Consensus seems to be rabbit for the first one, and I see them quite frequently. I've never seen any weasels or minks around, although I have seen a fox in the neighborhood once. Some fresh snow fell last night, so I'll have to keep a look out for some cleaner tracks that might have more detail.
posted by noneuclidean at 9:36 AM on February 5, 2015

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