Rabbit vs. Squirrel Tracks In The Snow? How To Distinguish Them

squirrel tracks in snow

Rabbit or squirrel tracks? What do you think?

Rabbit and squirrel tracks in snow can look very similar, but there are ways to tell them apart.  Here are some tips on how to tell those tracks apart and what they may reveal.

If you haven’t done it, I would strongly recommend that the next time it snows you go for a walk.  A walk in freshly fallen snow is such a cool and fun experience.  Sometimes you will be the first person to make tracks through an area.  Even if you are not that lucky or don’t want to, you will still most likely see many new animal tracks.  These tips will help you determine if those tracks are from a rabbit or squirrel or some other animal.

squirrel tracks in snowWhat Rabbit Or Squirrel Tracks In Snow May Show You

The different animals in an area are revealed by the tracks that they leave in freshly fallen snow.  In winter after a fresh snow you can see tracks easily.  This will help you see what different types of animals are in an area or are just passing by.

Possibly, the tracks may show you what that animal was doing.  For example, you may see tracks that lead to a burrow.  Or you may see what looks like a snow angel made by a bird that swooped down and dug in a burrow to catch a rabbit, mouse, or something else.

Those tracks can show experts or scientists a lot more information than just what animal they come from.  The animal tracks in snow may reveal information about the size, habit, and behavior of the particular animal.

How To Differentiate Rabbit And Squirrel Tracks In Snow

squirrel tracks in snow

You can see where this rabbit went…from right to left of the photo. Photo via Flickr.

Rabbit – Rabbit tracks are common to see after a snow.  Think of how they move, they hop or bound along.  They have two short front feet that leave round circles as prints and two longer back feet that they use to jump off of.  The back feet leave prints that are elongated.

The toes are covered by fur so you won’t usually see each toe.  The rabbit will jump forward, place its front paws and then land its back feet just in front of those front paws.  Then it will jump off the back feet, reach out with the front paws again and land.  This means the rabbit is moving in the direction of the two longer tracks, not in the direction of the smaller ones.

Rabbit Or Squirrel Tracks?

What shape does one group of four tracks (the two front and two back feet) look like?  A group of four rabbit tracks is usually in the shape of a rectangle, but a group of four squirrel tracks will look more like a block or square shape.

Look at the toes – a rabbit has fur on its toes, so generally you can’t make out each toe in the track.  On the other hand a squirrel has long, skinny toes that may appear in the tracks.

squirrel tracks in snow

Two sets of squirrel tracks. Notice the toes. Photo via Flickr.

Squirrel – These tracks are similar to a rabbit with two small front feet and two longer back feet.  Also, they will be moving in the direction of the two longer back feet since a squirrel bounds along the ground similarly to a rabbit.

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