Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Urine Trails

While out snowshoeing in the fields, we came across many trails that we at first thought were cat tracks. They were small and four toed, without claws. But we came upon other clues that told us that these were not cat tracks. Above you see a urine trail left by the small animal. These urine tracks were made every couple dozen feet. I've never known a cat to mark a trail like this. Not at all.
Then at one of the apple trees we saw chewed up apple cores (above). There were many of the animal tracks here.

Above you can see the tracks of two animals coming from the bottom right. They led to the disturbed snow just above my snowshoe. That is where two animals rolled and played together. There was no fur left behind, so there was not a fight. Cats don't roll around friendly-like in the snow.

Have you guessed which animal would eat apples, leave urine trails, frolic in the snow and has tracks similar to a cat?

It's fox! Probably, because the tracks were so small, they were gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). The urine was left by the male to attract girls. And he got one! They most likely mated in the snow where the snow was disturbed. January, when we found these trails, is when they mate. In one area the tracks showed that the animals were leaping and running as if they were courting. The apples? Gray foxes are omnivorous and eat a lot of wild fruit! I can't find out if they eat cats.

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1 comment:

  1. Those are very interesting tracks. I don't know if foxes eat cats, either, but it's probably best not to risk it.


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