Who Done It?

Grand Canyon

During a recent trip down the Colorado River, I found tracks like these near our campsites throughout the canyon. The individual tracks are about the size of a house cat.

Photo by Dennis Deck

Who made these tracks? [ View Answer ]


The relative long, bulbous toes and shape of the pad somewhat resemble the raccoon. However, the track is too small. The habitat and differences in the shape (especially the small dot behind the pad on the hind foot) should point to a different, but related species. Although only 4 toes show in this example, there are 5 toes.

The ringtail is a common resident of desert habits about the size of a large house cat. Great climbers, they den in the rock cliffs of the canyon walls and side canyons. I suspect that the main attraction around campsites are the mice that forage for scraps of food left by campers.

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