As part of our Mammal Study this month we learned that we don’t always get to see the animals in the wild. Sometimes we have to look for the signs an animals has been in the area. One of the easiest ways is to look for animal tracks! So, we set up a field experiment to see if we could identify which animals live in our forest. Grab your Wildlife Tracks Field Guide and see which ones you can identify!
First, we set out bait to attract animals to the area. The bait was placed in the middle of a pile of smoothed sand to make it easier to see the tracks. Then we left it overnight and checked it again in the morning. What foods did we use? Why did we use both meat and plants?
First animals to arrive on the scene! Unfortunately, they aren’t mammals!
Here is the 5 year old class site. The food is gone! The sand has been dug up. And notice the hula hoop? It was missing! It was dragged into the woods about 7 feet away. I wonder if the mammal was hula-hooping in the woods? 🙂
The 6-7 year old class only had one piece of carrot left on it. Check out all the tracks!
The 8-9 class added acorns to their bait. These tracks appear to be smaller. You can clearly see toe marks.
Last site belongs to the 10-12 year old class. In addition to turkey meat and carrots, they added peanut butter and granola bars! There were tracks every where!
The 10-12 year old class set up a game camera to see if we could snap a picture of our late night visitors. Our camera is motioned sensored and has night vision making it perfect for our bait sites. And guess who we saw on it?
Coyotes!! We were so excited to see them checking out the area. But, we wondered who else was coming to dinner? There were lots of prints of different shapes and sizes that we still needed to identify. So, we moved the game camera over to the compost bin nearby. What mammals do you think came to snack on leftover food?
Wait? Mr. Justin?!? Well, he is a mammal!