Opossum, Raccoon and Skunk, Oh My!

Do you know the track marks of the animals on your land? Take our quiz to find out.

Each year, after the midwinter blizzards, there comes a night of thaw when the tinkle of dripping water is heard in the land. It brings strange stirrings, not only to creatures abed for the night, but to some who have been asleep for the winter…His track marks one of the earliest datable events in that cycle of beginnings and ceasings which we call a year. –Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Which tracks below belong to the raccoon, skunk and opossum?

Track marks for three woodland animals, marked A, B, and C.

A. Opossum. The opossum has five toes, but wide and oddly shaped feet. The hind foot, in particular, has a very large, opposable, thumb-like toe, used to grab branches. Looking at a set of tracks, the front print nestles in the “V” between the “thumb” and “forefinger” of the hind print.

B. Raccoon. The raccoon has five toes, and the print of its front foot looks somewhat like a small human hand, while the print of its hind foot resembles a small human footprint. The hind foot is about one-inch larger than the front. Claw marks, if visible, are small.

C. Skunk. The five-toed front and hind feet of the skunk are similar in size, but the front feet have noticeably longer nails, which are used for digging. Do not confuse the skunk’s tracks with those of the domestic cat, which has four toes and retracted nails.  Also, the cat’s hind foot often steps in the mark left by the front foot.