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X Marks The Fox – Animal Footprint ID in Snowy England

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.

How to identify a European badger and a fox footprint in the snow. Photo from Buckinghamshire, England.

Here’s some other snaps from my walk…

Fox, crow and pheasant footprints in the snow.

A fox, a crow and a pheasant walk into a bar…

Muddy badger paw prints in the snow, Buckinghamshire, UK.

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.

Thanks for reading, you can check out some more of our articles, below.

From The Vaults: The Hunger Games With Tigers

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By James Salisbury The Comedy Wildlife Photo Award is a relatively new competition, founded in 2015, which hosts a yearly competition for funny animal photos. Winners get some awesome prizes, like an amazing camera and a holiday to Africa. The website promotes the Born Free animal conservation charity, where you can adopt an endangered species. […]

Old School Names for British Species

#1 Warty Newt (Great Crested Newt) An old school name for the great crested newt is the warty newt. For example, you can see this name in early works by Malcolm Arthur Smith from the 30’s. This name makes much more sense than ‘great crested’ newt as the most common newt in the UK (smooth […]

What David Brent Can Teach The Media About Daddy long-legs

Every year in the autumn, an mini invertebrate invasion begins in the UK. During this time, the press predictably roll out their best efforts to turn us into gibbering, broom clutching, stool-perching cartoons… Invasion! Cheshire town is overrun by Britain’s biggest spider… and beware, it’s bound to be appearing near you soon! Spiders as big as MICE invading […]

How Long Can A Bat Roost Be Disused Before it is Considered Abandoned?

This has been the topic of discussion between many UK based ecologists, home owners and developers. Perhaps a project was delayed and requires updated ecology surveys, however, for various reason you suspect that a previously identified bat roost is abandoned. You ask your ecologist: ‘how long can a bat roost be disused before it is […]

Add Biodiversity Net Gain to Your Amenity Features

Biodiversity Net Gain doesn’t have to be exclusively complex habitats and vast planting schemes – there are ways to include a net gain for biodiversity in areas of your development that are used as amenity areas, such as playing fields or meadows for dog walkers etc. Below, we go through some ways of achieving this; […]

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