Please ID tracks in snow

SnailLoverMarch 23, 2014

I noticed these tracks in my fenced-in yard today. It appears the animal came from the front yard, jumped the fence, and I'm not sure how it exited. My first thought was coyote or fox, possibly mountain lion as there have been some sightings around here. However, it could also be a big dog. I did see a black lab in my front yard this morning. The snow here is very deep and packed down somewhat. I weigh 110 lbs and am able to walk across the snow and sink in occasionally, if that helps give an idea of the density. Could a big dog spring up from deep snow and jump a fence?

I love all wildlife so I'm not necessarily freaked out, but I do have a small dog that I let out in the yard. Depending on what the tracks are, I will start going out with him at night.

I have a book on animal tracks but I was unable to ID the tracks from that. The pads look close together and I didn't see any pictures exactly like them. I took several pics and linked them to my photobucket account. Thanks for any help.

Oh, I'm in northern Michigan and I live in a wooded subdivision. There are houses all over but also woods too. I found rabbit fur and dove feathers the other day, so something is feeding on the wildlife. I thought maybe an owl or hawk. I wasn't thinking anything else until now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to photos

This post was edited by SnailLover on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 22:36

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suzq_07

It's definitely not a cat species as typically they don't register claw marks. I'm no expert but based on your location, the size of the tracks and the pattern of the gait, my best guess is a Fisher, or Marten. Fisher more likely because of the size of the track and overlapping prints...and especially the pic of the tracks where it jumped the fence. Many times if the snow is deep enough, you'll see the tail impression in the snow. Google Fisher tracks in the snow for comparison.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:41PM
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SnailLover

Suzq 07, thanks for your input. I'm starting to think it is a dog now. I googled dog prints and the pads are fat like these. I didn't think it could get enough spring to jump a fence, but the snow is pretty packed down. I'm still being cautious with my dog in case it's coyote.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Sharon McKenzie

Those are definitely canine tracks, and really look like a domestic dog's. Coyote tracks are usually a bit more elongated. I can't judge size from the photos with nothing for scale, but a large dog would have no trouble clearing that fence. I have had dogs that could easily clear a six-foot tall fence in one jump, like it wasn't even there, and that was from the bare ground, no snow to give then an advantage.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:12PM
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SnailLover

That's a relief, thanks!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:08PM
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