Wild Animals/wolf track?

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Question
track
track  

track
track  
i found a large track and i need some help identifying it
i know it has to be a large animal because the print is almost as big as my hand  and we have a small barn dog but she a small dog no where large enough to leave this track she goes biserk at night and early morning hours like aggressive growling and barking
i live in southern Canada in listowel Ontario i live in the woods out in the country
we have had wolf sightings cougar sightings lots of coyote sightings but this is too big for a coyote
we also have not heard or even seen any stray dogs out here either so i was wondering if you could help me identify it ?
it measuers at just 4 inches long by just over 3 inches wide

Answer
Dear Melissa

Thank you for your question and photos. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

http://westernwildlife.org/gray-wolf-outreach-project/signs-of-wolves/ shows the differences between the tracks of wolves, domestic dogs and coyotes. They are very similar, but differ in size. You are right in saying that the tracks are too large for a coyote, but as the upper photo seems to be of a fore foot, it is too small to have been made by a wolf, but is the right size to have been made by a large dog.

I think that the tracks is more likely to have been made by a large dog, rather than a small wolf, but the tracks are very similar.

I hope this helps

All the best

Jonathan

Wild Animals

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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