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Porcupine Tracks

1-23-14 porcupine tracks 014Probably the most distinctive characteristic about Porcupine tracks, other than their being somewhat pigeon-toed, is the fact that they have so few details, even in perfect tracking snow. The relative sharpness and details of the imprint of an animal’s foot often have to do with either the texture of the snow or of the animal’s foot. For example, in winter Red Fox feet are very furry and consequently distinct pad and nail marks are often not visible. Porcupine feet are well adapted for gripping tree trunks and limbs, but, like the Red Fox’s, leave few details in the snow — not because they are furry, but because of the nature of the foot pads. The digital pads typically don’t register, and the metacarpal pads (directly behind the toe, or digital, pads) are fused to form one large pad with a pebbly surface which is advantageous for climbing, but leaves a blurred imprint. With the right snow conditions, their long nails can leave marks, but this is the exception, rather than the rule.

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4 responses

  1. Nannette Orr

    you might see porcupine tracks in New Hampshire, so I send this on. Interesting about the fox’s tracks too. Mom

    January 23, 2014 at 2:37 pm

  2. Thank you.

    January 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

  3. Kathie Fiveash

    Mary, I’m a bit confused about which direction this porcupine was moving.

    January 24, 2014 at 3:02 am

    • It was going from left to right, Kathie. And it IS hard to tell!

      January 24, 2014 at 3:16 am

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