How to identify skunk tracks

The skunk is easily recognizable because of the black and white fur they have and their distinct odor. However, skunks are able to leave other identifiers behind to let you know that you have a skunk on your property. One of these telltale signs is tracks in the mud, dirt and snow around your property.

The tracks are easily identifiable because of the five toed appearance because they have noticeable claw marks at both their hind and fore feet. The tracks may be misunderstood for those of a house cat. However, cats are able to retract their claws, so it is easy to identify the skunk tracks. A hind track has a remarkable heel pad and it is normally found between two or two and half inches in length.

Besides noticing the tracks, property and home owners may detect a skunk infestation in many ways. One example is that skunks are known to be the best diggers. The omnivorous pest digs to find food sources or in order to create denning sites. The skunk may dig within building slabs and it may cause structural damage over time. A musky odor may also alert people that they have a skunk problem, but sometimes it is not the case. The smell of the skunk can travel a large distance. You can also find fresh droppings where the skunk feeds or near the den.

The skunks’ tracks in the mud will show five toes at the front and five toes at the hind foot. A front track will show the claw marks ahead of the toe marks compared to the rear prints. This is because the skunk may have longer claws on their front feet and they use them to dig up insects and roots.

The front track normally shows the metacarpal pad and sometimes the carpal pad. You can see two carpal pads. In the skunk tracks, sometime the pads do not make an imprint. This is because of the way that the skunks normally walk. However, sometimes you can find a perfect and complete front footprint.

If you want to differentiate the left from the right skunk tracks, you should consider the five toe prints. One toe will be smaller and it is set lower into the tracks. It is an inner toe also known as toe number one. The toes are numbered starting from the inside to the outside from 1 to 5. According to the position of the first toe, you will be able to figure out if it is a left or right track depending on where the claw marks are.

A hind track will also show a lower inner toe. So you should take time to look at the hind tracks found below and check the position of the innermost and lowest toe.

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