Excerpt from A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern, Central & East African Wildlife
Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an extract from A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern, Central & East African Wildlife by Chris and Mathilde Stuart.
The extract provides instructions on how to use the field guide to identify animals by their tracks, droppings or dung. The guide contains a general droppings key to help nature lovers identify and classify animals as well as photographs and schematic drawings.
Read the excerpt to learn how to identify animal tracks:
Tracks differ with living conditions: antelope in sandy areas, for example, may have hoofs longer than usual; tracks in soft sand or mud may be splayed for better purchase. Always remember that the track of the same species can show considerable variation; this may reflect the age composition of a population (young animals leave smaller tracks), individual differences and the influences of the substrate. For example, a track left in firm, damp silt will usually be clear and will accurately portray the animal’s foot structure but if the same individual steps on loose sand the chances of reaching identification are greatly reduced. This is why it is always a good idea to follow a trail until you find a clear track. Wherever possible we have included a drawing of the “ideal” track, a photograph of a track taken in the natural state (we have tried to select for what you are most likely to see and not the perfect track) and in some cases the feet themselves where we feel that this may help in reaching a decision on identification.