This poor animal was hit and killed by a car. Tragic and unnecessary though this death was (there are plenty of ways for a young animal to die with out us adding speeding vehicle to the list) a Naturalist lets no opportunity for learning go by. Studying the feet of animals take us a long way in the journey of tracking. Drawing the structure and textures, where fur is present, the overall shape of a foot all are important.
Above is the front foot of a female Eastern Coyote, below the hind foot. I did not have the opportunity to measure this animal but she was not large. The feet are so symmetrical that I have lost track of whether they are right or left. Being early in the winter there is a lot more fur between the toes than there might be the rest of the year, but nothing like a Red Fox has.
Some people may say good riddance to the coyote but I find their presence here rewarding. They live as families just like us.
2 thoughts on “Coyote Foot Study”
Notice how one outer toe is longer than the other? That’s a pretty foolproof way of telling whether it’s the right or left foot. I won’t tell you which one it is, because that’s not my teaching style, but you can look at coyote tracks in tracking books or online and see which side of the foot has the longer outer toe. However, some trackers aren’t aware of this technique, so not all hand-drawn illustrations will show it.
I show the technique on page 267 of my tracking book, which will be out in about three weeks. It works also for Bobcats and Timber Wolves.
I look forward to meeting you someday,
It is an honor to hear from you. My friend and coworker Luke took your year long program a couple years ago. I will check into the toes and get your tracking book when it comes out. If you ever visit the Northeast there are many of us here that would love to host you.