Tracking Quiz website

Tracking Quizzes

Quiz #12 - Answer

The answer is BEAVER.

Photo K7 shows the beaver’s LODGE that was directly above the burrow shown in photo K6.

However, that said, I came upon the tracks in the mud 30 minutes before I found the beaver lodge. The lodge was well hidden in thick willow brush, and if I hadn’t done the bushwacking, the tracks would’ve been my only clue. So I didn’t necessarily make the quiz harder than it was in the field.


Photo K7

Beaver tracks are not easy to find. They spend most of their time in water, and when they are on land their footprints are usually obliterated by the beaver dragging its tail, a tree, or something else. The tracks in this quiz are the finest beaver tracks I have found, and I was very thankful to encounter them.

The footprint in Photo K3 is typical of the beaver’s hind foot – a large webbed foot with five very long toes that have thick, prominent nails. (A large beaver has toes that are almost as long as your fingers. This makes it very distinct from muskrat or otter.) Books say that commonly, only 3 or 4 toes can be seen in the footprint but the webbing can be seen; in this case, however, all 5 toes clearly registered but the webbing basically did not.


Photo K3


In this beaver trail, the hind tracks obliterated almost all of the tracks from the front feet, which Elbroch reports to be a common occurrence. However, the faint remains of the smaller footprint pointed out in Photo K4 are the beaver’s front foot. Beavers have tiny front paws and great big hind feet.


Photo K4


The inward pitch (or "pigeon-toed" appearance) to the footprints is consistent with sketches shown in some references, although other references show zero pitch, and I have yet to find any book that comments on that.
The habitat in this quiz was consistent with beaver, as were the trail width, stride, and signs of feeding on willow twigs – there were hundreds of twigs in the marsh that were bitten off like the one in Photo K5.


Photo K5

The "burrow" was more than just a plain burrow – it was an entrance to the beaver lodge. Usually beaver lodge entrances are underwater and impossible to see. However, one clue in this quiz was the time of year – late August. At this time of year, water levels can recede enough to expose entrances to beaver lodges. If you look closely at Photo K6, you can see that this burrow was completely underwater at an earlier time in the year.


Photo K6

Hope you enjoyed this quiz and stay tuned for the next one!

Quiz #12 - Question      ...on to Quiz #13

The material on this page is copyright © by the original author/artist/photographer. This website is created, maintained & copyright © by Walter Muma
Please respect this copyright and ask permission before using or saving any of the content of this page for any purpose

Thank you for visiting!