Animal Tracking in Winter

Architetto -- tante orma sulla neve by francesco_rollandin

While some animals hibernate or migrate to warmer climates for the winter, many animals continue to be active. With snow on the ground, a great wintertime activity can be tracking these animals that remain out and about. Tracking involves interpreting, following, and identifying animal tracks. Children can be nature detectives as they study the different animal tracks and signs left in the snow. The more time they take searching for clues and making careful observations, the more they will learn about the wild animals of winter. Here are some helpful tips for animal tracking with children:

  • Examine the tracks carefully –
    • Use a ruler to measure the size of the track and the distance between tracks
    • Notice the shape of the track; count the number of toes
    • Based on the pattern of the tracks can you tell how the animal was moving? Was it walking? Was it running? Was it hopping?
  • Notice what is around the animal tracks –
    • Where are they located?
    • Where do the animal tracks go? Follow them for a little bit.
    • Are there other animal signs near the tracks, such as scat or fur or feathers or scratches/claw marks?
  • Bring along kid-friendly animal tracking guides or cards. This is a great resource for children. Here is a handy pocket guide to bring along on your adventure.
  • Take pictures of the different animal tracks you find so you can take another look at what you found back at home or in the classroom.
  • Bring nature journals or clipboards so students can draw their observations and findings.

One thought on “Animal Tracking in Winter

  1. Pingback: Encouraging Outdoor Play in Winter: Tips for managing the cold & enjoying winter activities | Backyard Learning

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