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Animal tracks

Even though spotting animals at night is sometimes very difficult, even the stealthiest beasts can leave clues behind.

What creatures' tracks can you find?

Even though spotting animals at night is sometimes very difficult, even the stealthiest beasts can leave clues behind.

Whether you're looking in your garden, or out in the countryside, you can find which creatures have left their mark. Use the guides below to help identify what you find.

You can make a simple tracker at home using a tray and some sand. Put it out in your garden and see what's left behind in the morning.

If you're very lucky and you leave your animal tracker out overnight, undisturbed and secluded, you could see the footprints of a wild visitor.

 

Here are just a few illustrations of mammals that are active at night and early in the morning.

Fox

Foxes used to be largely confined to our rural areas but now they're a common sighting in many towns and cities. Their footprints are a little bit like a dog's, they have the same number of pads but their feet are generally much narrower.

 

Hedgehog

Hedgehog footprints are hard to spot but quite distinctive in their long, narrow shape. They have three toes that point forward and two that go out to the sides.

 

Squirrel

Unless you live in Cumbria, rural Scotland or the Isle of Wight any squirrel footprints you get are likely to belong to the invasive grey squirrel. Both species have much larger hind feet than fore feet.

 

Badger

If you live in the countryside there's always a chance your garden is visited by badgers. Their paw prints are large, robust and have five digits.

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Make a plaster cast of your footprint

Do you ever look on a muddy path for signs of who or what has been there?

Even if the only footprint you end up with is from the family dog, a plaster cast that you can keep forever is a great way to preserve evidence of visitors. They look pretty cool too.