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Animal Tracks in the Snow: Can You Help Us Identify Them?

Animal Tracks in the Snow: Can You Help Us Identify Them?

Are these deer tracks in the snow? Bear tracks? Coyote tracks? Lynx tracks?! What types of animals walk around in the snow in the Catskills? I've been coming up to this land since I was a kid, but we've only recently winterized our place. For the first time, we're seeing our old, familiar hills veiled in snow, with leafless trees pointing spiny fingers toward the white sky. It feels mysterious and maybe a little sinister. And honestly, though I'm trying to be cool with nature, the large animal tracks are freaking me out.

 Could these be bear tracks in the snow? Or coyote tracks? They don't look like deer tracks to me.

We're pretty sure we know what deer tracks look like, and these tracks look different to me. Then again, I just saw some giant, super fuzzy deer in their thick winter coats, and they look pretty different (and slightly terrifying), too. Any thoughts on what animal might have made the tracks above and below?

 large animal tracks in the snow

I leaned down to look at the tracks above, and felt a creepy chill in my bones, sort of like I did when I took my kids to the new Kaaterskill Falls viewing deck. I just wanted to scoop up my delicious little 3-year-old and run into the doublewide before some hungry creature came out of the woods. Instead, I smiled and said to her, "Wow, isn't this fun!" Parenthood!

The tracks below are deer tracks, right?

 deer tracks in the snow

We followed these tracks to a spot where lots of tracks converged, and look like they did a bunch of stomping around.

 animal tracks in snow converge

"Looks like the animals had a dance party!" I exclaimed, while I scanned the surroundings for blood, bones, or chunks of fur. I didn't see any signs of a struggle. Any idea what happened here?

 Animal tracks coming together in the snow

Over by the shed, we spotted some smaller tracks.

 Small animal tracks in the snow near the shed

Small animal tracks in the snow near the shed

With the help of the Old Naturalist's Animal Tracks Gallery, we decided that these may belong to a squirrel that climbed up the shed's door.

 Are these squirrel tracks in the snow near our shed? It doesn't look like they went under the door, but maybe they climbed up it?

The view from our deck is hauntingly beautiful, but I'm just as happy to stay inside.

 Catskill Mountains in the snow

If you can help us identify these animal tracks or can recommend a good book or website to help us identify tracks ourselves, please leave a comment below. And stay warm, friends!

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