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Tracks and Signs

Credits: Animal tracks

Sometimes wildlife can be hard to spot but animals leave lots of clues around us if you know what to look for. Some things like slug trails or bird poo are very familiar, but with some practice you can start to look for all sorts of tracks and signs that will help you to learn more about the wildlife around you.

You don’t have to travel far to start seeing the tracks and signs of some of the hidden wildlife around us. You just have to know what to look for. And have sharp eyes. Because most animals leave plenty of clues for us to find.


Just think of the many ways that animals can leave their tracks and signs behind them. Whether it’s by building nests, eating their dinner (and then leaving their droppings behind them) or just moving from place to place, animals are always leaving clues for the intrepid to nature detective to discover.


Once you’ve got your eye in, you’ll be amazed at just how many animals there are around us. Grey squirrels stripping the bark off the trees in the park to build their drey; hedgehogs leaving their beetle-filled droppings on the lawn; the slime trails of yellow slugs climbing up and down walls; the footprints of birds around the muddy edge of the park lake (webbed footprints of mallard and Canada geese, unwebbed footrpints of grey heron and moorhen); that little pile of collared dove feathers that shows where a sparrowhawk has had her dinner… or was it a fox? (Easy! If the feathers have been bitten off, it’s a fox. If they’re pulled out, it’s a sparrowhawk)


There really is something for everyone to discover out there. So get nature detecting and see what tracks and signs you can find.


Five tracks and signs to look out for



Fur snags



Nibbled nuts