Tracks and signs

Wildlife can be very mysterious! It'll take a top nature detective to get to the bottom of it. Can you help solve this wild case?

Many creatures only come out at night, or they may be very shy and stay hidden.

But most animals leave behind clues to tell us where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing. Anything from fallen feathers and fur to footprints and even poo can tell us a story. It just takes a little practise to know what to spot, where to search and to work out what’s been going on from the evidence we find!

So what did happen last night? Use your newfound detective skills to find out. Show us how you got on and take another bold step towards completing your Wild Challenge!


Are you doing this activity as part of your Wild Challenge? Find out how you are progressing – are you getting closer to gold?


Did you know: hopping animals like rabbits and squirrels land with their bigger back feet ahead of their smaller front feet leaving interesting tracks.


people have completed this activity

What you will need

  • Autumn-winter activity sheet (download in: English or Cymraeg/Bilingual)
  • Spring-summer activity sheet (download in: English or Cymraeg/Bilingual)
  • Something to photograph your clues, or a bag or box to put them in
  • A magnifying glass or lens can be helpful if you have one
  • Paper and pens
  • Animal tracker (optional)

Welsh/English bilingual resources are also now available for our family Wild Challenge activities/ Adnoddau dwyieithog rŵan ar gael ar gyfer gweithgareddau Sialens Wyllt


  1. If you've made an animal tracker, check to see what footprints are left behind. Can you identify them using our handy animal track guide?
  2. Go for a slow walk and search for clues. You could start in your own garden, or try a path through a wild place. Pay particular attention to muddy spots where animals might leave their footprints.
  3. Walk slowly, and look around very carefully. Can you find feathers, eggshells, animal tracks, hairs caught on fences? Nibbled seeds or nuts? Maybe even some animal poo (don’t pick it up though) will be a clue. Use the downloaded activity sheet to give you some other ideas.
  4. Try to work out what’s been going on – maybe a badger squeezed under a fence and left some trapped hairs, or a deer walked across the path and left its tracks. Can you follow where it went next?
  5. If you'd like to take a closer look, a sturdy magnifying glass is a good addition to your kit and will let you see the hidden details in your evidence.
  6. Remember to wash your hands if you’ve been handling some of those messy clues.
  7. Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or description of your experience to help earn your award.

Completing the activity

Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of what you saw or your family on the look out! Alternatively, draw or paint what you saw or upload a description of your experience.

Make an animal tracker

Find out what has been out at night while you’ve been fast asleep!

You will need

  • Baking tray
  • Small plank or long ruler
  • Fine, damp sand
  • Small, shallow dish
  • Dog or cat food
  1. Fill the tray with sand and smooth the surface with the edge of the plank or ruler. 
  2. Put a little pet food in the dish and stick it in the middle of the tray
  3. Leave your tracker out overnight and see the next day if anything has left its footprints there. Throw the pet food away in the morning, before it goes bad.
Levelling sand in container
Make the sand flat with a ruler
Putting a little pet food in dish in centre of tracker
Put a little pet food in the dish
Completed tracker showing sample tracks
Check the tray in the morning

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