Just like the traces of other wild animals, wolf prints need to be able to distinguish both the hunter in search of prey and the traveler in order to protect themselves from meeting with the wolf pack in the forest. If a hunter does not understand the tracks, he may fail to hunt, lose a lot of precious time, and you can learn a lot of information about the beast: he is full or hungry, calm or alarmed, in which direction he moves, this lone wolf or moves whole flock. Of course, an understanding of the tracks comes with practice and experience, but you can try to figure out the traces of a wolf in the snow or another animal are on the way to follow the prey.
- What does a wolf track look like in the snow?
- What wolf tracks look like in the snow: photos, differences from other animals
What does a wolf track look like in the snow?
Wolf’s paws are heavily pubescent, which contributes to the fact that they leave a large mark on soft snow, and its weight contributes to the fact that it falls through in deep snow, as well as on a weak crust. Therefore, when a large level of snow falls, wolf paw prints should be searched for on trails laid by man or elk, as well as on open hills, glades, edges.
The wake of an adult full-grown wolf is also different from the wolf print: it is larger and more round.
In the photo you can see the traces of the wolf in the snow clearly. The prints of the front paws are larger than the hind ones, because the front part of the predator’s torso is more powerful and heavier than the back. In this case, the pads of the front extremities are rounded inward, and the rear – outward. The average size of the print of the paw of an old wolf is 10.5 cm, width – 8 cm, with a she-wolf 1-2 cm less. In younger males, the footprint length is 9.3 cm, width is 7.2 cm. If the found imprint is 12 cm long and slightly larger, it can be identified as a dog belonging to one of the larger breeds (for example, St. Bernards, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs, Great Dane).
To correctly determine the duration of traces left in the snow, practical experience is needed. The quality of the left print depends on the depth of the snow, ambient temperature, light and other factors. In order to imagine how long the wolf walked along the path, it is necessary to practice it on one’s own experience: leave your footprints in the snow and follow their modification after one, two, three days, as well as several hours. When determining the duration of the predator’s passage, it is necessary to take into account various external factors affecting its appearance and structure: the degree of snow humidity, the depth of its layer, the size and structure of snow flakes, and the presence of wind.
With a quiet movement, the wolf leaves a smooth chain of tracks, while its hind legs come exactly to the front. The number of predators in a flock with a quiet step on the prints is difficult to determine, as they move to the footprint of each other. Their smooth structure crumbles only when turning or when overcoming any obstacles. In addition, the fact that several animals have passed can be understood by how strong the curvature remains, which breaks the edges of the fossa fossa, making it larger. At the same time, the excavation of a trace is obtained repeatedly covered with several prints, and if you look closely, you can clearly notice it. Such traces are denser than those of a single predator. By these signs, it can be determined that a flock has passed, but it is very difficult to understand how many individuals it was.
Allure of this predator also affects the quality of prints. This may be a step, then the chain of tracks is not as flat as when moving at a trot, the distance between the steps is about 25 cm, or a gallop during the pursuit of prey or when leaving the chase. The trot predator is able to go long distances, leaving a uniform line of prints, the length between steps is from 70 to 100 cm. Moving a career, the predator pursues prey by two-meter jumps. In this way, the beast can move for a very short time, because it exhales (while developing a speed of up to 85 km / h). Moving by a quarry or a gallop, the prints of all four paws remain on the snow, while the rear ones are placed in front of the front.
What wolf tracks look like in the snow: photos, differences from other animals
The wolf has five toes on its front legs and four toes on its hind legs. Often the wolf footprint is confused with the imprint of a large dog. This is logical, because both of these animals belong to the same biological family. The wolf leaves an imprint larger than that of the dog. This figure is somewhat controversial, since there are breeds of dogs, the growth and size of which reaches the size of the calf.
However, wolf tracks can be distinguished from the dog by the shape of the print and its location:
- The wolf paw leaves an imprint that is more “composed” than that of a dog. The fingers are pressed to the foot, and in the dog they are somewhat distributed.
- Wolf claws on the foot directed inward. The dog – out.
- The wolf is always a straight chain of tracks that lies straight and stretches monotonously. The step is wider than the dog with the same distance between the tracks.
In order to accurately determine who exactly left the mark, experienced hunters put a match to the tip of the side and middle fingers, thus measuring the distance between them. In addition, if there is no certainty, whether it is dog-like or wolf-like, gently look at the presence of human tracks nearby, as a rule, dogs do not move far from their hunter-owners.
Often, in deep or loose snow it is very difficult to identify wolf prints. This is due to the fact that in this snow the wolf moves by jumping, and its prints can be confused with the prints of roe deer or lynx. The situation is exacerbated if a boar trail passes along which wolves can move, leaving no traces. To determine the number of wolves and their movement in such snow, it is necessary to distinguish between the track tracks and jump tracks. When moving along loose and deep snow, the trail of a lone wolf can be confused with a lynx. To eliminate the possibility of error, in this case, you need to walk along the path about three hundred meters. At the same time, the belonging of prints should already become clear: the wolf trail is characterized by purposefulness and straightness of the course, with a step width of 35-40 cm (at a lynx with a width of 10-15 cm), a much smaller width of the walkway than at a lynx. The prints are dense, clear, oblong. The density of the print can be felt by removing the gauntlet. On the jumps it is possible to distinguish the traces of the wolf from the deer as follows:
- The stable length of the jump is 150 cm. The length of jumps of roe deer varies from 100 to 300 cm.
- Unlike the wolf print, the roe deer jump is characterized by the lag of one forelimb, this is clearly seen in the snow.
- The shape of the imprint of a wolf jump is close to oval, in a roe it resembles an inverted drop.
- When the trajectory of movement changes, the wolf makes a smooth arc, and the roe always changes dramatically the direction of movement.
To acquire the necessary experience, you need to constantly memorize, photograph, analyze animal tracks in order to navigate on the spot.