Stephanie Jochum-Natt with Wild Aware Utah and the Hogle Zoo tells us how to identify animal tracks.
Winter Wildlife Tracks and Safety
• Utah`s winter snow is not only beautiful, it's also a great means of identifying animals that are active in the area. The tracks wildlife leave behind in the snow can reveal who lives nearby.
• Fresh snow at a depth of one to four inches tends to pick up the best tracks for identification. Check for tracks in the early morning before the snow melts or more snow covers them.
• The size, shape and pattern or `gait pattern` will narrow down what species the tracks may belong too. When looking at tracks, note the size, number of toes, the shape of the pad (round, oval, oblong), and if the track shows claw marks or not.
• Animals need to conserve energy in the winter, and will often use trails or pathways made by humans to avoid moving through the deep snow.
• Typically animals will stay off pathways when people are out recreating, but just in case Be Wild Aware and be on the lookout.
• Moose and mule deer are some of the more common animals one may encounter on a winter trail during the day.
If you run into wildlife on a trail:
• Stop, stay calm
• Go back the way you came or find another route to go around
• Give the animal a lot of room, do not crowd it
For more information on wildlife, go here.