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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Five toes, prominent claws

This photo was taken in the dunes on 21 January 2012.  I'm still puzzling over these interesting tracks, so thought I would share the photo and ask for ideas about the animal's identity.  I should have measured the tracks when I took the photo, but I would guess each print was about 2-3 inches long.  [I've included some notes and a possible guess below the image.] 

It's probably a medium-sized mammal.  It's not a canid (fox, coyote) or a feline (bobcat, mountain lion), because they have four toes instead of five.

Opossums have five toes, but their "big toe" on the hind foot sticks out almost perpendicular to the rest.  Raccoons have five toes, but they have very long, distinctive digits that produce a hand-like pattern.

So now I'm wondering about the mustelids, or weasel family.  It's large, so not a skunk.  It isn't webbed, so not a river otter.  The claws are prominent and strongly curved inward — could it be an American Badger (Taxidea taxus)?

If you have a guess or notice different things about these tracks, let me know.  I'll post any further updates.

1 comment:

Romie said...

Could these tracks be a mink? Maybe too big?