Animal Tracks in Winter

rabbit tracks winter 2

Rabbit tracks

Sometimes during winter in the Rocky Mountains it feels as if the world is simply asleep while everything is coated in a blanket of white snow.  Many animals, including me, are either not active are are less active.  However, there are still some animals in the Rockies that are active and search for food during winter.

Any time you are out in nature you may not see many animals around, but you know they are out there.  You know this either because you can hear them or because you are able to see evidence of them in the landscape, such as tracks or scat.

Winter is in fact a great time to see evidence of animals in the landscape because the snow makes it easy to find their tracks.  The absolutely best time to look for tracks during winter is after a freshly fallen snow when the ground is blanketed in a layer of white.  The new snow covers everything leaving a blank canvass.

It is like if you start with a blank piece of paper that gradually gets covered with different drawings and colors.  Every day more and more drawings are added to the paper to the point that it becomes completely full and it is hard to tell what is on the paper.  Then one day you get rid of that old paper and start with a new, blank piece of paper again.  It is very easy to see the first drawings on that new piece of paper.

That is exactly what happens when it snows again.  The new snow creates a blank piece of paper that the animal tracks begin to cover again.  It is incredibly easy to spot tracks as they wander across a field of fresh snow.  You can even follow the tracks to see where the animal came from and went to.

Additionally, as an added bonus it is a lot of fun to be in a freshly fallen snow.  There is something magical as you wander around the Rocky Mountains in fresh snow, especially if you are the first person to make tracks it feels like you are an explorer seeing a new world.

For example, here are some dog tracks on freshly fallen snow.

dog tracks snow

Notice the tips of the claws at top of toes.