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SWWASAS

SW Washington Field Work 2017

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SWWASAS

Well I did not know I would stumble in to a mystery at the opening of 2017.    Woke up to 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground and noticed the only thing that had laid tracks was near from front porch and went down the driveway, around my outbuilding shop and off to the NE.  No big deal and the first few prints were just one or two feet apart.    The prints were partially obscured by fresh snow and looked very much like a rabbit.   Then as I walked down the driveway the tracks got further and further apart.    I came to a stop when the stride,   distance between any print or print set exceeded 6 foot.      I turned around and came in waiting for daylight so I could take pictures and measure.       Out at daylight I  started measuring and the stride went from 72 inches to 74 inches and then the greatest distance was 78 inches.     Some of the prints looked like elk, some deer,  and some like multiple prints in a spot like a rabbit would make.    Fresh snow messing up what had made them.   Anyone know what a typical elk or deer stride is?     I cannot believe a rabbit would make over 6 foot leaps.   I do not recall anything over 6 feet for elk but may have never seen prints from one running.        The prints seemed to originate near my porch go around the shop and completely disappeared right in the middle of the yard.    I have to attribute that to blowing snow.    

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Gotta Know

Things that make you go hmmmmm...

 

Would love to see the pics if they came out. Mystery indeed!Image result for rabbit on a pogo stick meme

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Sasfooty

I wouldn't be surprised if a running rabbit could stride well over 6 feet.

 

But....disappearing right in the middle of the yard? Maybe an owl snatched it up.

 

Or maybe something else.

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SWWASAS

It all just shows how while snow shows everything that has been around it is not a reliable medium for prints.     Distorts, melts out,  blows around,  covers the tracks etc.   Give me good old clay, mud, or sandy soil every time.  

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hiflier

Rabbits prints are not very deep and maybe the snow filling in the tracks would make them appear shallow? How deep were the more well defined ones? I'm thinking if they mashed the snow all the way down in the track it may indicate weight. Waiting for my first mystery of 2017. I know it's out there somewhere.

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SWWASAS

Here are the photos of the prints.   It was lightly snowing at the time and I nearly waited too long for daylight to come before taking the pictures.   The prints were filling in with snow.    Each picture is a separate print.    Like I said the heel or aft track in each set went 74 76 and 78 inches between them.    Has a rabbit look to me but I have never seen a rabbit take 6 foot jumps before.  I know we have some good trackers in the forum who need to set me straight.     That light you see is pretty handy with prints in snow.   It is a battery driven LED light.   Put it low to the side and you get good definition in snowy prints.   For a size reference the LED light is 5.5 inches wide so each patch of track is about 7 inches long.  

 

IMG_1209.JPG

IMG_1210.JPG

IMG_1211.JPG

Edited by SWWASAS

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Gotta Know

I just googled rabbit, squirrel and wood rat tracks in the snow, and none of them look like THAT! It's interesting that you don't see any body-weight impressions. I mean, if a rabbit made them by leaping 6' at a pop, you'd expect a half-body impression. I'm guessing it may be a bird track. I don't know the species, but is it possible the two side-by-side (of three) impressions are bird feet, and the single, more round impression is of a beak used to partly break its fall with each landing?

 

Oh, and which direction was it headed? Are the double prints in the front or back of direction traveled?

 

Really fascinating picks. A mystery to me for sure.

Edited by Gotta Know

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Gotta Know

Just for giggles, here's a picture of a Norway or pack rat impression I took years ago following a snow here in Seattle. Granted, shorter legs would lead to a body imprint (it had lept down a small ledge), but I'd still expect a rabbit or squirrel to have left a deeper imprint.

rat print.jpg

Edited by Gotta Know

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guyzonthropus

Well, I can say that my little domesticated rabbit(albino, pink eyes, yknow..) has leaped well over six feet in horizontal distance, as she did that first day when  I was trying to catch her up in the brush/scrub above my last house. I was thinking"****, it's frickin' WonderBunny!" Rabbits can be surprising in what they can pull off in terms of amazing feats(feets?^_^) of evasion.

 

As for those Y-shaped tracks I could see those being from a rabbit maybe, landing on spread front feet with its hind feet drawn together underneath for greater leverage in the next push off.  But I'm no track expert by any means...

And there's no snow nearby to toss the "volunteer" subject bunny out into to test the theory...

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MIB

I think it's a rabbit.  I've seen rabbit tracks like that in the snow.   It's leap, land, leap, land ... repeat.    The center / back mark is the two front foot tracks nearly inline, the outer front marks are the rear foot tracks.

 

MIB

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guyzonthropus

Or the tracks might be formed by the rabbit landing on its front feet brought in together, then the hind feet come up past them for greater "spring loading" for the next leap. That would certainly be a bunny in high gear, moving fast, which might well support what sasfooty said about owls...

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MIB

Right, that's what I was trying to say.  That aligns with the 6 or so foot separation between clusters of tracks.    Thanks!

 

MIB

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SWWASAS

It could be it was near or under the porch and when I turned on the porch light I spooked it and it took off with those big leaps.      A few years ago I found Emu tracks in the snow in the yard and that had me going for a while as to what they were.      Darn things look like a dinosaur track.   A relative used to raise them and I finally confirmed the picture of the track with him.  

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guyzonthropus

MIB--no, thank you!

I was actually composing that second post amendment/realization when you must have posted the correct rabbit foot placement configuration !

 

Randy-those emu footprints are pretty odd looking when you first see them! When I was living in Tucson a friend lived next to some folks that had 40-50 of them, and we would hear their low frequency sounds wondering what the heck that noise was until we followed it to the emu paddock. They've got such beautiful eyes! I never knew they could be kept in areas that get cold enough for snow...

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BigTreeWalker

Looks like rabbit tracks to me. Randy you should have laid a ruler next to them. Cottontails can jump 10-15 feet horizontal. 

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