Being Wrong, Skunk Tracks

Skunk tracks wmcc

 

Three Red Trees lead a tracking walk at White Memorial Conservation Center a few days ago.  I had gone ahead to scout and found these tracks pictured here.  They were quite small and covered some distance in the open.  They were beautiful and I was excited. I thought they were Longtailed Weasel and told the group so when they came later.  I even convinced Deneen.  We both thought on first seeing them that they were skunk but they were so small, much smaller looking that all the other skunk tracks we had been seeing recently that I called it wrong.  It was not until I got home and looked at these pictures without the pressure of an audience, that I saw that the foot morphology was all wrong for weasel and all right for skunk.

 

In my defense the first bit of track I came across was this confusing section below that I mistook for some sort of 3 by 4 bound.  I still don’t know what was going on there.

 

Skunk unknown gait, pattern Skunk tracks lope

 

Skunk tracks

Skunk Tracks Through the Yard

Skunk lope

 

Woke up the other day to these wonderful tracks outside the house.  A skunk, no doubt looking for a mate, galloped down the path from the driveway past the basement door.  I can tell its a lope because to start with the track pattern is in a broken rhythm, there is a space between each set of four.  The next thing to look for is where the front and hind feet fall in relation to each other.  Above the tracks of the hind feet both land past the tracks of the front feet.  In the below photo one hind foot does not land past both front feet but beside it.  That is a lope.

skunk tracks in snow

What does it matter?  Well it is reflection of how the animal is moving and possibly its state of urgency.  Often in tracking information can be hard to come by and any more of it is welcome.

Skunk gallop pattern

March 9 we are leading a free tracking walk at White Memorial Nature Center in Litchfield CT.  Come learn more about tracking with us.

skunk tracks on the driveway.