Who Done It?

Slough Creek

James Halfpenny showed me these tracks along Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park. It took me a minute to figure it out, having never seen a track quite like this. This fellow had nearly a two-foot stride. His tracks are quite pigeon-toed but clearly show direct register (hind track lands on top of the rear track).

Photo by Dennis Deck

The clues were more distinct when I inspected the track closely on my hands and knees.

Photo by Dennis Deck

Who made these tracks? [ View Answer ]


The hind foot landed on top of the front foot and slightly to the right. On the right note the crescent formed by the interdigital pad of the hind foot. With my finger I could feel five distinct lobes to the pad. Direct register made it hard to count the toes of each foot directly, but the holes made by the nails were quite distinct—five on front and hind feet showing a 1-3-1 pattern.

Well, I thought, it must be in the weasel family but the tracks were unfamilar. Ah, but those long front nails must belong to a digger. Yes, it has to be a badger!

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