Track It Thursday: The Leopard

Leopard tracks are typical cat footprints, with a pug mark that shows 4 toes, 3 lobes on the back pad and no claw marks. The only time claw marks are visible is if an animal has been running.

Their front pad tracks tend to be more round while back pad tracks are slightly more oval.

The size of the track will determine whether it is a male or female animal. The males tracks can reach up to 9 cm. Also, the females toes tend to be more narrow.

The leopard’s massive claws are retractable and often they can be seen scratching their claws on the bark of trees just like domestic cats. This helps the leopard keep its claws sharp, but also is a way of removing dirt from under the sheath of the claws. However, it is also believed that there could be scent glands between the toes, so by scratching on a tree they are also leaving behind their scent and in turn marking their territory.

If they are stalking or walking slowly, the leopard will place the back foot in the exact same spot as the front foot.

Without a doubt leopards are possibly one of the hardest animals to track, not only because they tread so lightly but also because they tend to move in random directions.

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