So to Start it Off, I have the picture Below!
SO HERE COMES THE ID!!!
First we need to find out what type of animal we are looking at, The pad, and 4 rounded toes should lead the Logical ones towards a predator!!
To find out what predator/carnivore, we need a few more details, which I have highlighted!(In Paint
To start things off, we need to work out, if it belongs to either the Suborder Caniformia
"Dogs"or that of Feliformia
As we can see in this spoor, The shape is very round(A sign of a cat spoor), Dog spoors are more elongated, oval in shape.
The next step is the number of lobes on the heel pad,(the large one one at the back)...Cats are Tri-Lobed(3 lobes on the heel pad), and dogs are Bi-lobed(2 lobes).
Unfortunately the mud, does not show it in this instance, which is when you use the 'X' rule.
In the rather vivid, yellow X I made
, you can see when attemting to draw an X through the middle of the spoor(The spot above the centre of the heel pad, and the bottom of the Inner toes), I am unable to do so without the lines of the X cutting through the toes.
This is a sign of a Cat Spoor(And Hyeana Spoor)......With True Dogs, one is able to draw an X through the Spoor, with out touching or going through any of the toe prints.
The next step is too look for the presence or absence of claws...In the Dark Blue circles I made, you can see 2 of the claws are clearly visible(The other two not so much in the photo
). (This does not imediately rule out the true cats, as when they step into mud, or soft sand and sink, the claws that are retracted, may still show in the spoor
) In this case however, this animals spoor, shows claws always(Soft sand causes issues with claw visibility though!!!)
The Light Blue Circle around the toe, Is just to show the shape. Rounded toes are a good sign of a cat spoor,which must go hand in hand with the little green lines, showing the spaces between the spoor. (Cat's have rounded toes, and large gaps between the toes)...These gaps may also be caused in dogs though, when the toes spread apart in mud!
But their toes are more elongated, and will show the X etc etc!
So we now know we defiantely have a cat!!
But which one??
The size of the spoor now comes into play...The spoor measured at 52mm
(All those thinking Lion, Leopard, Cheetah
This allows for all the small Cats, In which Distribution(Balulue GR, Oliphants River) leaves only the;Caracal
Shows no claws!!African Wild Cat
Shows no Claws!!Civet
Right size and Shows Claws!!And Genets!
Because the spoor was not left in wet wet mud, The claw marks(toothpick scratches I left behind
) present, are meant to be there
This leaves you with the Forefoot(It's broader then the hindfoot) Spoor of a AFRICAN CIVET(Civettictis civeta)
Although only 4 toes show in the spoor, 5 toes are present on each foot....The toes, containg the dew claws, are too high up to make an imprint on the ground!
PS: A Civets forefoot spoor is completely round!!! (Which Is why the red lines are there
, Take the measurement of the bottom to the top of the spoor with your fingers, and align this with the measurement from left to right of the spoor) Should Be the Same!