|2. The squirrel was using a bounding gait.
tracks in the front are the hind feet; the tracks behind them are the
This track pattern is classic for the rodent family, traveling in a
bound and leaving a set of 4 tracks in a “W” shape. The animal takes a
big leap with its front feet, then the larger hind feet straddle outside
of and land forward of the front tracks. It’s a bit hard to see in these
tracks, but 4 toes are registering in the front feet and 5 toes
registering in the hind feet, which is also consistent with the rodent
family. The relatively large trail width of 4½ inches is too big for a
mouse, shrew, vole, chipmunk, or flying squirrel, and larger than most
red squirrels, so that pretty much narrows it down to gray squirrel.
I enjoyed these trails that showed squirrel bounds for extended
distances going across the frozen marsh & pond, which is a bit out of
the ordinary for a squirrel. More commonly, I find squirrel trails under
the cover of forest, often just going short distances from one tree
trunk to another.