Not Just for Kids

What kind of wild animals live around you?

Sometimes you can see animals at night if they don't know you're coming. Animals hide when people are around, so you're more likely to find evidence of animals rather than see the animals themselves. All you have to do is look. One thing to look for is animal tracks.

Where can you find animal tracks?

"Animals leave tracks when they walk in squishy places" says Jessy Oberright, naturalist of Battlecreek Cypress Swamp. The best places to look for tracks are in snow (which we haven't seen much of around the Bay this year) mud, sand and sometimes dry dirt.

How do you identify an animal? Lesson 1

Look at the shape of the print. Is it a hoof, paw or claw? A hoof - well, you can guess that that might be a deer (unless you've got horses in your neighborhood). A claw means a bird. And paws? Pawprints can be any number of animals. We're going to focus on a few that live here along the Chesapeake Bay.














Can you name the animals that left these tracks?




Next time you're outside, take a notebook and pencil with you. Then, when you find an animal track ­ or some other sign that an animal has been visiting, like a feather or a burrow ­ make a sketch of it. If you gather clues on what you find, you'll have a pretty good idea of what kind of animals live in your neighborhood ­ and even in your backyard.


To learn more about animal tracks call Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian at 410-741-9330; or Battlecreek Cypress Swamp at 410-535-5327.

Answers to Mystery Animal Tracks:1. A dog; 2. A deer; 3. A raccoon

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VolumeVI Number 9
March 5-11, 1998
New Bay Times

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