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Otter Tracks

3-3-15 otter tracks IMG_5843North American River Otters have four webbed feet and strong claws that assist them in water as well as on land. There is relatively little hair on the soles of otter feet, and therefore the individual pads are often well defined in good tracking snow. Each foot leaves a five-toed track, with the inside toe on the front feet being somewhat smaller than the others. Otters have four plantar pad glands in the center of each hind foot with which they mark mounds of vegetation they create.

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7 responses

  1. Louise Garfield

    I saw recently, right up the bank from a brook, a set of small tracks, in a perfect circle, perhaps 8′ in diameter. Nearby snow was so deep that I did not get up close enough to see the prints. Any idea what animal might tend to walk in a cirlce?

    March 4, 2015 at 10:00 am

    • Afraid I need a little more to go on…approximate size of tracks? I don’t know of any animal that characteristically travels in a circle like that, but it certainly happens when an animal is hunting or even being hunted. Sorry not to be of more help!

      March 4, 2015 at 11:16 am

  2. Teresa

    I have a question about beavers, not otters. Although i did see lots of otter slides in the snow yesterday…so cool. I also saw a tunnel opening about 100 feet from an active Beaver lodge and a newly felled poplar. Do Beaver tunnel this far through water and snow to get food in winter? I thought they stayed in their lodges all winter.

    March 4, 2015 at 11:04 am

    • Hi Teresa,
      From your description, I’m not exactly sure whether the opening was in the ice or on land, but either way, as soon as the ice, for whatever reason, is thin enough to break through, beavers will take advantage of it in order to get fresh food (poplar is their favorite). They will go some distance on land to get it. You’re right, other than swimming to their food supply pile, beavers spend the winter in their lodge, but only as long as they positively have to!

      March 4, 2015 at 1:28 pm

  3. Bob and Inge

    Thank you, Mary, I got this photo! Inge

    March 4, 2015 at 2:17 pm

  4. Any idea what animal made these tracks? Could be a domestic cat even. Thanks, Jan England

    March 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm

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