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Old Monday 2nd July 2012, 19:01   #1
StuartReeves
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Mammal tracks, Belgium

I found these tracks yesterday in an area of heathland & woodland on the Belgian/Dutch border, near Antwerp. Any suggestions?


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Old Monday 2nd July 2012, 21:05   #2
Farnboro John
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I am venturing well into unfamiliar territory here and no doubt others will have better information. My wild stab in the dark is Raccoon, but I've no idea if its in range.

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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2012, 19:18   #3
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Thanks John. I've been doing a bit of research myself, but I won't say anyything just yet to avoid biasing any further input.
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2012, 20:08   #4
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The claw pattern fits dog although the pads aren't clear. It would be a very long clawed dog! Can't think what else it could be so interested in your thoughts Stuart.
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2012, 20:19   #5
Farnboro John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skink1978 View Post
The claw pattern fits dog although the pads aren't clear. It would be a very long clawed dog! Can't think what else it could be so interested in your thoughts Stuart.
I too thought the claws too long for dog (and absurd for fox). I also thought, tilting the laptop to darken the third image, that the pads were in fact very long and pointed towards the rear - hence the Raccoon suggestion.

I await enlightenment with bated breath!

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Old Wednesday 4th July 2012, 18:11   #6
StuartReeves
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
I too thought the claws too long for dog (and absurd for fox). I also thought, tilting the laptop to darken the third image, that the pads were in fact very long and pointed towards the rear - hence the Raccoon suggestion.

I await enlightenment with bated breath!

John
I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed!

I was initially struck by how long the toes/claws appeared, and my first wild guess was also Raccoon. At that point I had no idea whether Raccoon was known to occur in the area. However, the area is known as a nature reserve, so it is presumably reasonably well covered by naturalists who enter records into the Observations.be database. A few clicks later, and I came up with a list of mammals recorded in the area over the last twelve years. That's here. It's quite a modest list, which doesn't include Raccoon, or, more surprisingly, Fox or Badger. Given that the prints consistently show four toes, that also tends to rule-out Raccoon or any mustelids. As Fox has apparently not been recorded at the site, I'm left with the reluctant conclusion that the animal must have been a dog! I can only assume that the hard ground meant that only the claws made an impression, so the apparent pad shape is completely misleading. I'm still open to alternative suggestions, but for the time being I'm stuck with the idea that it was a dog all along!
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Old Wednesday 4th July 2012, 21:31   #7
Farnboro John
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I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed!

I was initially struck by how long the toes/claws appeared, and my first wild guess was also Raccoon. At that point I had no idea whether Raccoon was known to occur in the area. However, the area is known as a nature reserve, so it is presumably reasonably well covered by naturalists who enter records into the Observations.be database. A few clicks later, and I came up with a list of mammals recorded in the area over the last twelve years. That's here. It's quite a modest list, which doesn't include Raccoon, or, more surprisingly, Fox or Badger. Given that the prints consistently show four toes, that also tends to rule-out Raccoon or any mustelids. As Fox has apparently not been recorded at the site, I'm left with the reluctant conclusion that the animal must have been a dog! I can only assume that the hard ground meant that only the claws made an impression, so the apparent pad shape is completely misleading. I'm still open to alternative suggestions, but for the time being I'm stuck with the idea that it was a dog all along!
I suppose if the ground is quite hard then the dog's paws may have slipped (depending how fast it was going) and given a false impression of the claw length.

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