Who Done It?


These track was found in February in a forest of Silver Fir and Mountain Hemlock at about 4,000 feet elevation on Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon. There were couple inches of fresh powder over a base of hard snow. The terrain is moderately steep.

Photo by Dennis Deck

Who made these tracks and what is he doing? [ View Answer ]


These is an unusual track. Knowing that it is a steep slope should have provided a clue that this long furrow is a slide. Before you leap to the conclusion that this was a river otter let me point out that there is no body of water within two miles of this spot.

Note that this animal switches to a gallop at the end of the slide. The diagonal 2x2 pattern is typical of the weasel family but the trail width and pattern help rule out otter.

This pine marten must have been having a great time sliding down each tree well. I have not seen any reference to sliding behavior in the literature on pine marten. Nor have I seen other examples of this exuberance yet.

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