Track wildlife in your backyard
So many animals stay active in the winter. No matter how cold it gets, you can find them in your backyard looking for a bite to eat or scurrying for shelter. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular critters you might find when you step outside your door and how to track them. Deer
Deer don’t move around a lot during the winter. They spend most of their time warm and cozy, taking shelter by coniferous trees like fir, pine and spruces which block the wind and keep them hidden away from predators. When they’re hungry, they’ll walk short distances to find food. They don’t need to go all that far when they eat things like twigs, grass, and nuts. Their tracks are easy to spot. They kinda look like upside down heart shapes!
We’d be surprised if you’d find squirrel tracks on super cold winter days. They usually hunker down in their nests until the weather warms up. On warmer winter days, they like to head out and find the nuts they buried during fall. Even if there’s been a big snow fall, they can sniff out the nuts they buried — even under 30 centimetres of snow! Look for large tracks, spread out — you can see that they’ve been jumping here and there. The tracks will probably lead to a tree at some point so keep an eye for squirrel tracks around trees!
Do you have Red Foxes where you live? They might not be as common as raccoons and squirrels, but if you’re lucky enough to share a habitat with these beautiful creatures, you might find signs of them in the snow this winter. Red Foxes leave round tracks in what we’d call single file — one paw in front of another. It doesn’t look like they roam around too much — they know exactly where they’re headed.
Voles and Mice
You’ll need to look really closely if you want to find tracks from small mammals like mice and voles. These tiny creatures have tiny paws too and the tracks they leave behind can be hard to see. They are very faint on the snow, showing their paws and sometimes the trail their tails will leave behind. But voles are rarely out and about on sunny winter days — far too risky as these dark coloured mammals will stand out on the white snow. They prefer to hang out just below the snow where they can create tunnels to get around.