No.34 track wild animals

Two little boys hold worms

There are lots of different things that you can look for when you're on the trail of an animal or bird. Look out for footprints, feathers, fur and poo and you might find something sooner than you think!

Are you ready?

You'll need sharp eyes for this challenge as tracking wild animals can be tricky. Tracking isn't just about using your eyes, you can also listen out to see if you can hear the animals, birds or mini-beasts that you're looking for.

It's probably best to wear trainers or boots so you can follow the trail wherever it takes you.

What are you looking for?

  • Footprints

Remember, animals don't wear shoes, so their footprints all look very different. From a horse's hoof to a rabbit's paw, learn what you're looking for, and what their prints look like. Something like a spotter sheet for animal prints will probably help you too, in case you see some prints you don't recognise - are you following a yeti?

If there are footprints, can you work out which way they are going?

  • Poo or sick

If it hasn't recently rained and there's no muddy ground to trap footprints, you can also follow other clues like droppings (poo) or pellets which owls vomit up once they've eaten.

  • Fur and feathers

Other clues about animals living near where you're tracking them can include fur or wool caught on fences, or feathers on the ground. In spring, look out for broken egg shells on the ground which can alert you to the fact that there is a bird's nest in a tree above you.

  • Holes

Holes are another good starting place - they could be homes for rabbits or badgers and molehills (little piles of earth on grassy fields) usually show you where a mole has been tunnelling.

  • Tracking little beasts

You don't need to track big animals like sheep or cows, and actually tracking smaller animals is just as much fun. In the same way as you see molehills, little casts of soil on the top of a garden can show you that worms live in the soil and are doing their wormy thing underneath the ground. Or you can search through grass or gardens to find ants, and watch them going about their daily lives.


Track wild animals

If you're keen to get out there tracking wild animals then our video might help you to spot what sort of things you're looking and listening out for.