Report from Ben Willis
The following might be helpful to anyone interested in indentifying feline tracks. I photographed these tracks and some others at a small pond near my home. These particular ones are bobcat, but they are typical of the cougar and all lynx species when stalking prey. In order to maintain quietness and stealth, the cat steps in the same spot from front to rear. Whenever these type double-tracks are seen, they are almost assuredly those of a feline. On a soft substrate such as sand or mud occasionally the claws are often seen within the tracks. As the mud pushes upward between the pads, the claws are extended much the same as when we hold and press against our domestic cat's paws.
Bobcat tracks in mud
Detail of bobcat tracks in mud showing claw marks
On the subject of animal tracks, I would be curious as to the groups analysis of the prints depicted in this attachment.
I already know what they are only because I saw the animals making them.
Bobcat tracks on left and domestic cat tracks on right
Several months ago a builder from Aberdeenshire claimed to have seen a big cat walk past his work van, and photographed the prints made by the beast in the snow. To the layman they might have looked impressive, large five-toed prints.
To anyone with experience of cats, it was obvious that a small cat had disliked the feel of the snow, and carefully placed the back pads where the front ones had been. I suppose in the wild this probably lessens sound and scent trails, and the unpleasant feel of some surfaces.
To me, your photo looks like cat tracks, some five-toed where overlaps occur. One smaller, one larger....maybe your domestic cat and Exmoor?
It looks as if the animal that went out has smaller paws than the one that came in? Whatever it was, I'd say it wasn't a large animal.
The print on the left of second step has no obvious claw marks. It has five toes and therefore looks as if the animal was putting one paw down on top of the other. I'd guess it was a domestic cat.
The prints on the right have heart shaped pads, rather like you might expect on the front foot of a cat. I'd guess it was Exmoor, the Bobcat.
I'm impressed...you're both correct. The tracks were Panther and Exmoor, left and right respectively.
I figured the five toes would throw you since it didn't look to be an overlap. It is a good example how tracks can be decieving.
One thing I learned from this, bobcats always step in this manner.
Previously I had assumed it was only in their stalking mode.
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