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February Frolic - Who’s Frolicking With You?

February Frolic - Who’s Frolicking With You?

By Kayla Edmunds
February 8, 2021

 

If you’ve been getting outside and frolicking this February, you may have noticed some signs left in the snow that you aren’t alone! This gallery features some tracks found by other North Country explorers, as well as resources to help you identify what you're frolicking with! And remember, no matter what you spot, be sure to share it with us via our Encounters page (https://www.natureupnorth.org/encounters). 

 

First, a classic: White-Tailed Deer tracks!  You can tell these tracks are from a deer from the heart shape formed by the two toes. 

White-Tailed Deer Tracks - Encounter: Katherine Lukens

 

This is a sign of some fun in the snow being had by river otters! These slide patterns are characteristic of their movement, and the small tracks in the path are further evidence of at least one otter romping around in the area. 

Otter Slide - Encounter: Justin Dalaba

 

The tell-tale signs of a rabbit! Rabbits are hoppers, and their large front feet are placed close together first, followed by their back feet resting directly behind, which creates this characteristic track. 

Rabbit Tracks - Encounter:  John Maye

 

Mice are also hoppers, albeit with smaller feet and the classic tail-drag snowmark. 

Mice Tracks - Encounter: Bill Hill

 

Porcupines are mainly nocturnal, so getting a glimpse of these “snow tubes,” where they plowed through the deep powder, might be one of the easiest ways to know they’re around! 

Porcupine “Snow Tube” - Encounter: Erika Barthelmess 

 

Minks are another nocturnal animal, so although you’re unlikely to see them during the day, tracks like these will tell you that they have been frolicking.

Mink Tracks - Encounter: Bill Hill

 

 

And for those on any of the many North Country college campuses this time of year, there are still many creatures active. Thanks to North Country explorer Julia Zuckerman for pointing out the deer and squirrel tracks in this photo! 

Deer and squirrel tracks - Encounter: Julia Zuckerman

 

Want to know what’s frolicking with you? Check out some of the links below for more information on identifying animal tracks on your next adventure! 

https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/tracks1.pdf

 

https://nystateparks.blog/2019/02/05/which-track-is-that-a-look-at-winter-animal-tracks-throughout-state-parks/

 

https://www.fws.gov/refuges/features/SnowTracks.html

 

https://www.oyccweb.com/uploads/2/6/4/4/26442920/animal_track_id_guide.pdf

 

By Kayla Edmunds
Piffard, NY