What is this story left imprinted in a snowy field? (glove just for scale)
A bobcat was sitting, and a vole or mouse was scurrying between tunnels! Bobcats’ typical hunting method is sitting patiently and ambushing prey. As they spend time in the same position, the details of the tracks are left in well-defined prints in the snow. This bobcat was sitting facing to the left of the photo, towards the vole or mouse tracks between tunnel holes. Perhaps the bobcat was waiting to pounce on an emerging vole or mouse! Voles and mice are a significant part of a bobcat’s diet, along with hares and cottontails. When there is deep snow to allow for easier predation, occasionally a large bobcat will also feed on deer.
Look for a few tale-tell signs to distinguish this cat track (left) from a dog track (right):
🐾Four toe impressions are asymmetrically arranged, unlike symmetric dog tracks you can make an x through without touching the heel pad or toe impressions.
🐾The heel pad is flat or bi-lobed, unlike dog tracks where the heel pad is pointed.
🐾Fine and retractable cat claws often aren’t visible in tracks, unlike the thicker blunt nail impressions of dogs that usually do appear in tracks.
🐾In light snow, you can see a fur impression around cat tracks, absent in dog tracks.