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Wild Animals/strange tracks in yard


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unknown track  
I am trying to identify the tracks I found in the snow in my back yard in Endwell (upstate) NY this morning. I live in a residential neighborhood with some light woods nearby, but nothing to thick, but I am away from the real urban areas that are nearby. I have in the past spotted the usual squirrels, skunks, deer, etc. And neighbors have reported seeing a porcupine on my back porch. But I can't seem to find anything that matches these prints as most of the ones I see with 5 toes tend to have obvious claw marks which these did not seem to have

Hi, Tom

You don't have anything next to the print to show its size.  But because it has five toes, my guess would be that it's a mustelid (weasel, fisher, marten, etc.).  The claws will sometimes show, but not always.

Fishers are becoming more common in your area, so it could be one of those.  Keep small dogs and cats inside if you have a fisher prowling around!

Hope that helps.


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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

House Rabbit Society

Exotic DVM journal

I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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