The Dancer

The Dancer
Graceful dead tree up above Deep Canyon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Animal tracks~Nature Notes January 20, 2011
















As I was driving up to see my horses this weekend, I decided to take my side road and check out the footprints. Let's see...it rained last about 8 days ago up there. And, yup...I found them again...mountain lion prints (see top photo). Apparently he/she has now claimed this road as its territory. I believe he or she passes through here (see rocks in bottom photo) to another territory, maybe down in the canyon. I don't see deer up in this area of the canyon, but there are plenty of rabbits and even bighorn sheep. Honestly, I'm puzzled because this road is frequently traveled by folks going in and out of a private development, and I spotted several human tracks going up and down it. (I'm learning to "read sign"!) But, there they were! I also noticed other animal tracks directly across the dirt road from them. It must have been a busy few nights up there! Finally, there was a dead coyote about 50 years from the road. I'm not sure if it was hit by a car and managed to crawl off the road to die or if the mountain lion killed it. IF that's what happened, would the mountain lion kill a coyote? It's head was pretty well mangled, but the rest of the body was intact...any ideas? Nature Notes for January 20, 2011.

9 comments:

  1. I remember your first post about the mountain lion! He or she seems to be fairly comfortable in the area.
    I've read that mountain lions will kill coyotes, I'm not sure if the lion wouldn't have fed on the coyote then, though.

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  2. I'm not entirely convinced that's a mountain lion track. Usually cat toes aren't so evenly spaced and squared off. In fact, one telling characteristic is that of the "leading toe," or the second toe being ahead of the other three. I don't see that here. Couldn't this be a large dog?

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  3. Have you heard of this method for identifying tracks? If you try to draw an X between a mountain lion's toe pads, note that the X crosses into the heel pad. However, if you try to draw an X between a dog’s toe pads, the X doesn’t go into the foot pad. Sometimes you’ll be able to see the claw marks left by a dog’s claws above the toe pads of his print, but not always. That track looks most like the last track pictured here (dog track) http://www.cougarsanctuary.org/tracks.html

    Yes, they will kill coyotes and thereby keep their numbers in check.

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  4. Well, I'm certainly no expert on animal tracks and you may be right. Thanks for clarifying this for me, since nobody else did!

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  5. I feel sorry for the coyote! If it is a mountain lion, being that close to a development isn't a good thing for it.

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  6. Interesting post and loved the other people comments. Wonder what it is?

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  7. Identifying animals by their tracks can be as tricky as identifying birds by their calls. Some we know well and cannot mistake but others you have to be a real bushman to be certain of.

    Nice post.

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  8. I do love a good mystery..I have a book on tracks and I love looking at them here even if they are more mundane.....Michelle

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  9. This might help...

    http://www.bear-tracker.com/

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