The drawings below show idealised footprints. Tracks in the field are usually much less clear and can differ according to such factors as the ground surface (e.g. hard or soft); whether or not it has rained since the prints were made; the age, sex and size of animal; or whether the animal was walking or running.
Tracking tunnels record the footprints of smaller animals. These prints can be easier to identify but can also be a smeary mess, especially if several different species have passed through the tunnel.
If an animal moves through an area frequently they can wear a groove in the ground and keep these trails or runs clear of low branches. Many animals like to sleep or hide in fixed locations called dens. Some animals like to wallow in mud baths to cover themselves in mud.
The clue descriptions below will guide you in considering size, shape and unusual features when tracking pest animals.
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