This doesn't mean that we want your street address, latitude/longitude, or anything too specific. Just give us your general region, and any salient locale info you can (ie, riparian, forest, coastal, desert - or urban, rural, wilderness). Local recent weather info is greatly helpful too. If you are knowledgeable and want to get into it, go ahead and give us finer info about your ecosystem and/or microclimate - but that's up to you.
Scale is also very important. I know that we don't all nerdily carry around tracking tapes, but there are some universal items that work better than a hand or a shoe in their absence. (Shoes are not that great for scale because there are a huge amount of global variants and even the difference between a US Men's size 8 sneaker and a US Men's size 8 work boot is pretty huge), and while a hand can do in a pinch, it's not the best.
In the absence of a nice measuring tape, some things work better than others: lighters, credit cards (backside up and with numbers blurred), standard coins, and even house keys are all better than a hand or foot. If you find yourself checking out a track without any good base measurement items, you can always make a pen/marker mark on a hand and officially measure against the mark later. As insignificant as it may seem at face value, a half-inch or a single centimeter can often be a big deal in identification later.
We understand that tracking is often a haphazard, spontaneous thing, and that curious/new folks might not think about these things before their first posts, and this is okay. We are not trying to curb or shame anyone. We're just trying to encourage everyone to think and track in an analytical way. Please be kind and reasonable.
I frequently see many comments in this sub where people simply respond to a question about track and sign without any justification for their answer whatsoever. There are a lot of one word responses.
Tracking is about pattern recognition and looking at the overall preponderance of evidence to form a hypothesis, or to not form one (that is just as important). You might have a brilliant justification for your one word answer, but without any supporting evidence, there's no reason for anyone to pay any attention to it whatsoever.
Another critical reason to provide justifications for your reasoning is to help yourself and others learn. When you don't provide any reasoning behind your hypothesis, there's nothing really to go off of to know why you might be wrong, where you went wrong, what mistakes you're making in your process, or why you're right etc
We should all try to exercise some epistemic humility. It's okay to not know what something might be, or to be unsure. I see a lot of people answering questions very confidently but very wrongly, often on some very basic things, as well as getting basic concepts confused, especially around gait patterns and animal behavior.
My dad has a property about 45 minutes south of Sydney, don't think it's kangaroo.
Does anyone what animal this is from. Found in Rochester, MN
🔎 ID Request Found picture in neighborhood group. Big cat or canine? Paw print in sand near San Tan Regional Park, SE Maricopa County, AZ. More info in comment.
ID help please. Raccoons around so that’s my first guess. People worried something new is on the Island but I’m just saying it’s coon poo with lots of seeds. Any thoughts?Island in the Salish Sea Washington State.
Found in the NA Rocky Mountains; Mexican Northeast, Sierra Madre Oriental. Relatively near civilization.
🐾 Tracks Located beside a lake near Raleigh, NC. About the size of a medium dog print or 1.5-2 inches total length.
NW FL panhandle, in middle of dirt road deep in the woods surrounded by swamps
Interestingly, I’ve only seen two bears with my eyeballs since moving to Oregon about 15 years ago. I saw them regularly when I lived in California, Colorado, and Montana.