But did you know there's a way to be able to sometimes tell what types of critters have been sharing Sheep Pasture with you, even without ever seeing them? To do that, you need to become a tracking detective.
The next time you are traveling around Sheep Pasture after the rain, take a look at areas of soft mud near puddles, along paths, near streams, or at pond banks. Rocky, compressed gravel does not hold tracks well, but the soft mud of puddles and other wet areas does. If you look closely, you may be able to spot the tracks, or footprints, of animals who have passed by before you. Tracking also works well in light snow, so you can have fun being a tracking detective all year round. You can see who the different animal residents are throughout the year!
You may want to take a photo of a print you see so you can identify it later. If you do take a photo, don't forget to put something in the photo that will help you know the size later because it's often easy to over- or under-estimate the size of footprints in a photo. A pen, dollar bill, or even your own foot or hand will work to give you a good idea of what you are looking at.
To help you start being able to identify some basic animal tracks, please see the chart below, courtesy of Mass Wildlife. Click here for a link to the Mass Wildlife publications webpage, and a downloadable copy of the track guide is available by clicking here.
We hope you have fun being a tracking detective!