Identifying Animal Tracks

Nature Activity: Animal Footprints

All animals leave footprints, or tracks, including humans. We may not see the animal. Most come around while we sleep. Lucky for us, they leave behind many different signs of their passing. This nature activity will teach you how to read a very important sign. Running Deer will teach it to you.

When I was a young girl and lived in the city, I never thought much about animals. They were something that I read about in books. Could they be a part of my life? No way! If they existed at all, it was far away in the country.

squirrelWas I ever wrong about that! I had a biology teacher in school who taught me a lot about wild animals in the city.

This is the nature activity he gave to me one day. Find a place in your back yard, or in a park that is very smooth. A patch of dirt is good. A sand box is excellent. If you don’t have a place, then put some flour in a large cookie sheet.

Whatever you use, make it nice and smooth and soft on top. Then place a little bit of food in the middle of your spot. An old piece of bread is good. Peanut butter is even better. Do this just before night time.

raccoonThat’s all you have to do. Wild animals will be attracted to the food and leave behind their tracks. Come back the next morning and take a look.

Did you find any animal footprints in your area? Can you tell what they were? There are many good books about animal footprints or tracks that can help you identify the animal that left them.

To complete this nature activity, find the animal footprints of three different wild animals that live near you. You may get them all in one night, but most likely, you will have to try several times to collect all three.

If you don’t get any animal footprints at first, keep trying. It may take a while for the animals to find your area. It is ok if you don’t know the name of the animal. You will be able to tell one track from another by the size and shape.

How did that nature activity go for you? How many tracks did you find? Can you see the toes? Can you see claw marks? Name the wild animals that you think may live around you.

Bob Repoley and Barbara English are graduates of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. Barbara was a Wilderness Awareness School Kamana instructor for years. Check out more from them on an excellent website called, where this animal footprints activity came from.