A short walk through the British countryside in the snow is a great way to sharpen up on your British animal footprint ID. Lets have a look at some common UK species which I found on a recent walk through the snow; and some quick methods to ID them.
Badgers, unlike dogs and foxes are not – cool word alert- cursorial. Cursorial animals are adapted to run; and one of the adaptations for running is having fewer digits – and also walking on your digits, like dogs. Animals which do this are known as digitigrades. Go on, think of a fast animal, adapted to running, and you will find that less is more.
Humans and badgers, on the other paw, are plantigrades. We prefer a much slower pace of life. Having wider feet obviously also allows badgers to dig more proficiently. I noticed this recently at the regular badger sett I have been checking – just after sunrise I caught a glimpse of one of our resident badgers trundling along, low to the ground; probably going to bed. I like t think he got kicked out of his bed, and decided to go to a different hole to sleep. Here’s some 2021 photos of animal tracks in England, from the recent snowfall.
Also, here’s an easy way of identifying badger and fox footprints – these features below will differentiate them from dogs. Badgers – plantigrades – have 5 toes on the ground (you can also, often, see claws however not in the below photo). Foxes, have a distinctive X march distinguishable between their toes.
Here’s some other snaps from my walk…
A fox, a crow and a pheasant walk into a bar…
A muddy badger pathway through the snow. This is probably the badger I saw in the morning, it was about 45 minutes after sunrise, in early February.
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