July 20, 2019

MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Tree Guide MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Fishing App

Beaver Tracks & Sign

Beavers  tracks and sign can be found just about everywhere in North America, at least everywhere there’s a water source. Besides water there also has to be an ample amount of trees to fulfill their dietary needs, birch, willow and aspen to name a few. Beavers, Castor canadensis aren’t the most secretive animal inhabiting the land, if their around you’ll find evidence of their sign everywhere, dams, lodges, wood chips, felled trees, stumps and scent posts.

 

The tree in this picture at right was chewed by a beaver. Beavers eat the inner bark or cambium layer of trees. They also  fell tree to get at the buds, leaves and newer, younger branches.

 

This image on the left shows a closeup of what a beaver chew looks like. Beavers as do other rodents chew at a 45 degree angle. You might find their chews several feet off the ground in the spring and summer months which would mean that that particular chew was made while the snow was deep sometime during the winter.

Beavers have unique tracks, some times their hard to find because  they drag their tail as well as  branches as they amble along. The tail and dragging branches will obscure their tracks if not wipe them out all together.

 

Here’ a perfect example of a beaver drag. In this particular picture the drag was about 5 foot wide  obscuring all tracks that the beaver had left.

If you do find a nice clear set of tracks most likely they’ll be in the mud on the waters edge. Their front feet resemble small human like hands 2.5 to 3 inches long with 5 toes. Often times the front foot may only show 4 toes in the tracks but they’ll still look like long fingers with claws at the ends. A beavers rear track can be up to 7 inches long and looks somewhat triangular in shape. The hind tracks also have 5 toes and you should see some evidence of webbing between them. Claw marks should also be present in the tracks.  Beavers have a gait pattern of a pacer, meaning all four of their feet will register independently. Some times however the hind tracks will  register on top of the front ones. With the wide tail drag and the unmistakable sign they leave you shouldn’t have any trouble identifying beaver tracks or mixing them up with any other mammals.

A good place to look for  beaver tracks  is  along  the muddy edges of their dams.  You should also be able to find the spots they enter and exit the water.  Beavers will use the same entry and exit points along the shore to go out and forage for food. Many times these trails will be churned up mud and their tracks will be evident. I have found some of my best beaver tracks on the winter ice where there’s a light snow cover.  If you see an open hole in the ice with sticks or branches strewn about you may be able to find some good tracks there, just make sure the ice is at least 3 inches thick before you venture onto it.

One of the  other signs that beavers leave are their scat. Beaver scat can be very difficult to find since most times it’s deposited underwater, but if you know where to look it will be much easier to spot.  Beaver scat is in the shape of a pellet either round or elongated, about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter.  Their scat resembles  wood chips or sawdust stuck together and is usually a light brown to tan color. If you look at the well worn entry trails into the water you may find scat just under the waters surface or at the edge of their dam. The pellets are usually scattered or solitary not found in a large pile like that of a deer or rabbit would be.

 

I found this adult beaver skull stuck in a dam on one of my outings a few years back.  This shows a perfect example of the their incisors. The incisors are orange colored from the iron in the beavers diet.   I don’t know how it met its demise but it will made an excellent addition to my skull collection.

 

If you stumble across beaver habitat on your next outing scout around and see if you can locate some tracks or scat. Learning how to identify animal sign and the creatures that left them can be a very rewarding experience.

Happy Hiking !!

 

 

 

If you carry it in, you carry it out, please put litter in it’s place!!!

 

 

 

 

Who Scat Here??

Animals by nature are very elusive creatures and for the most part we only see the sign they leave behind rather than the animal itself. One of the most common signs you’ll find left by animals is their scat. Scat for the those not familiar with the term is just a nicer way to refer to their solid wastes, droppings or simply put, poop!  Some animals do their business anywhere at any time and others will use the same spot or general area over and over again to stake out their territory.

Is it possible to tell what animal left a turd here or there? Certainly it is, all you need is a basic understanding of what animals inhabit the area, what those animals eat and a general idea of what shape and size each animals scat is. In some instances it helps to know the mentality of an animal as well, or better put, the audacity of an animal. All that said I come to the simple question of , who crapped on my deck?

By process of elimination I can narrow this right down to the most probable culprit. Where I live we have the following mammals: Woodchucks, Fishers, Pine Martens, Bobcat, Gray Fox, Coyotes, Raccoons, Otter, Mink, Black Bears, Porcupines, Beaver, Muskrat, Whitetails, Moose, Snowshoe Hare and a handful of small rodents like Chipmunks and Red Squirrels.  Your thinking that’s a fairly long list to whittle down to the exact animal aren’t you?  Well, its not really that hard and here are the simple deductions with a just a little bit of knowledge mixed in.

  • Squirrels and small rodent have rice-like scat, so it’s definitely not one of those.
  • Beavers, Otters, Mink and Muskrats are aquatic animals and there is no water nearby so we can scratch them off.
  • Snowshoe Hare, Whitetail Deer and Moose, their scat is most often in a pellet form, think of Raisenettes or Malted Milkballs, definitely not them, and what would a deer be doing on my deck?   Hey… it’s happened before but just not this time.
  • Woodchuck?   Nope, Woodchucks always, 99% of the time deficate in one of their underground chambers made especially for that purpose.

OK, we eliminated a few possibilites and now were left with the choices of Pine Marten, Fisher,  Coyote, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Black Bear, Bobcat or Porcupine. If we look at the scat itself it has hair in it which means that whatever dropped a load on my deck ate another animal or in scientific terminology is a carnivore, but wait, there’s also berry seeds in the scat making our carnivore now an omnivore. Omnivore is just another fancy term for an animal that eats both plants and meat (meat= another unfortunate animal). 

  • We can immediately scratch off the Porcupine because they are herbivores and only eat plants.
  • Fishers, Bobcats and Martens are going to stick with meat so we won’t be finding seeds in their poop… drop them off the list.

Wow!! We’re getting down there in number aren’t we? We only have 4 possibilities left: Gray Fox, Coyote, Raccoon or Black Bear. All 4 are omnivores and we could go by size and shape of the scat to eliminate these four further down but were going to look at it from a different perspective. Mentality or Audacity, which animal of the four animals left would be fearless enough to come up on my deck and relieve themselves.  Definitely not a fox or coyote their just way to skitish to even think about it. So were left with Mr. Raccoon or Mr. Bear both oppurtunists by nature seeking out the easiest meal they can get. We can simply just go by size now, a Black Bears scat is from 1 1/4 inches to up to 2  inches in diameter. Or scat is clearly smaller than an 1 1/4 inches in diameter. so the question of “Who Scat Here” is unmistakably Mr. Raccoon!!

On a more serious note, NEVER, EVER touch, smell or taste animal scat!  Always wear gloves and use a stick to probe scat when identifying it. Raccoon Scat in particular may contain the larva of  parasitic roundworms which if inhaled or ingested can cause serious illness or even death!

Enjoy Nature !!

Apps for the Great Outdoors

Much to our surprise we found out that our flagship app MyNature Animal Tracks was selected  by Apple for their “Apps for the Great Outdoors”  campaign.  This isn’t the first time Apple has featured our Animal Track app.  Last summer with the introduction of the iPhone 4 Apple had used the track app as one of their featured selections in their advertising campaign.  Were very pleased to be selected again and find it an honor to be in the spotlight, but more importantly that were helping people connect with the great outdoors and providing an education in nature.

Follow our tracks to the iTunes store and look for this icon. 

With the Mynature Animal Track app you’ll be able to tell the difference between Moose tracks and Elk tracks, Grizzly Bear scat and Mtn. Lion scat. The difference in shape of a Bobcat and Red Fox Track, read animal sign, how to make plaster cast and the best places to find tracks.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors !!

Yosemite Tracks, Trees and Wildflowers PR

Yosemite Tracks, Trees and Wildflowers for iOS –

Complete Field Guide

Wevertown, New York – MyNature today introduces Yosemite Tracks, Trees & Wildflowers 1.1 for iOS, their app that provides a complete, personal field guide to identifying the Animal Tracks, Trees, and Wildflowers of Yosemite National Park. Users will be able to easily identify tracks, scat, and sign left by more than 30 animals that inhabit the park, native trees, and 240 wildflowers. The app features searchable databases of: more than 30 tracks, with 700 photos, plus animal vocalizations; more than 30 species of trees with hundreds of drawings and photos; and 240 wildflowers with 680 images.

In each of the three categories, Tracks, Trees, and Wildflowers, the app helps the user make an identification by asking a series of questions that will greatly limit the number of possible candidates. The app is completely self-contained and requires no Internet connection. MyNature donates one dollar for each Yosemite app purchased to a general fund that is distributed to various national park foundations.

On launch in portrait mode, Yosemite Tracks, Trees & Wildflowers presents a title screen with four icon buttons: Tracks, Trees, Wildflowers, and MyNature Journal. Touching Tracks brings in the Animal Tracks Menu via a push transition. There are six buttons on the menu, including: Identify Tracks (six main categories, plus dozens of sub-categories); Identify Scat ((six main categories, plus dozens of sub-categories); All Animal Sounds (32 vocalizations, plus hundreds of images of Track and Gait); View All Animals (alphabetized list of 32 Species, plus hundreds of images of Track and Gait); Life List (personal log of type of identification of 32 Species, plus location, description, photo, etc.); and Other Info (Introduction & Directions, Field Notes, Making Plaster Casts, Glossary, etc.). All screens include an empty text field for searching.

Identify Animal Tracks Features:
* A searchable database of seven illustrated categories based on track size and shape – includes only animals found in the park
* View illustrations and photographs of each animal’s tracks (front and hind), gait pattern, and sign they leave behind
* Listen to each animal’s vocalization
* View a full color image of each animal in the wild
* Identify animal scat by using illustrated examples of five categories on scat size and shape
* View multiple images of each animal’s scat in the wild for comparison
* Life List, Tracking Tips, Plaster Casting and much more

Selecting Trees from the title screen brings in the Tree Guide Menu, including: Trees With Leaves, Trees With Needles, View All Species, Life List, and Other Info. Touching Trees With Leaves allows the user to search the tree database via a 15-item questionnaire, or list all 16 Species (Names, Descriptions, and hundreds of images). Choosing Trees With Needles also allows the user to search the tree database via a 15 item questionnaire, or list all 17 Species (Names, Descriptions, and hundreds of images). Selecting View All Species displays a scrollable list of all 33 tree Species (Names, Descriptions, and hundreds of images). The Life List allows the naturalist to fill in blank text fields (My Experience, Title, Location, Description, Images, Save to Life List). Other Info displays the following buttons: Directions, Tree Facts, Scientific Names and Meanings, Tree Morphology, Glossary, Credits and References, etc. All screens include a text search function.

Identify Trees Features:
* A 14 question illustrated search – just answer one or more questions and hit submit to see which trees match the characteristics selected
* Full color digital images of each tree’s leaf or needle, fruit or cone, profile, and bark
* A complete description of identifying characteristics for each tree
* Your own personal Life List to record the trees you have identified
* View all Species, Scientific Names and Their Meanings, Tree Facts and more

The Flower Guide Menu offers: Identify Flowers, View All Species, Life List, and Other Info. Identify Flowers includes a 15 question search, of which the user need answer one to five questions for an accurate identification. View All Species displays a scrollable list of 240 species with common and scientific names. Touching any name allows the user to drill down to descriptions, drawings, full screen photos, a virtual ruler, etc. All screens are searchable via text input.

Identify Wildflowers Features:
* A 15 question illustrated search – answer one or more questions and submit your choices to see which flower has been found
* Illustrated drawings of every flower in the app, vital for comparing leaf position, leaf shape, and the overall appearance of the flower for identification
* A beautiful full color image of each flower
* Your personal Life List to record your discoveries
* Flower Morphology, and how Pollination works
* A built in ruler and much more

“This is the first iOS app specifically designed to identify the flora and fauna of Yosemite National Park in California,” stated company spokesperson, Jeff Greco. “Everyone who enjoys exploring nature, no matter what their level of knowledge and experience, will love using Yosemite Tracks, Trees & Wildflowers.”

Language Support:
* US English

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, or iPod touch
* iOS 3.0 or later (iOS 4.3 tested)
* 199 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Yosemite Tracks, Trees & Wildflowers 1.1 for iOS is $7.99 (USD) and available through the App Store in the Reference category. Review copies are available upon request.

MyNature
Yosemite Tracks, Trees & Wildflowers 1.1
Purchase and Download
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Located in Wevertown, New York, the MyNature Inc. team is a small independent software company founded by Jeff Greco and Laura Greco. With a focus on the OS X and iOS platforms, MyNature’s passion is to promote an education in nature through smartphone technology. Copyright (C) 2011 MyNature Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod, and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Tracking Tips

 One of the best places to spend some time outdoors looking for tracks is a Beaver pond. Actually an old beaver pond which the dam has broke and left a flow is even better. Dams represent the edge in the forest, an edge is where two different ecosystems meet.  Wildlife are naturally drawn to the edge of an ecosystem and spend time feeding, bedding and hunting these areas. These edges are where the majority of animal sign can be found if you take the time to look. Elevated areas like rocks and logs  in or near the waters edge are great places to find scat left by Mink, Muskrat and Otters.

This scat left by a Muskrat is a territorial marker. You can see that there is both new and old scat where he constanly freshens this scent post. You might also find a latrine area where there are piles of different aged scat, these are usually found near their core area where they spend the majority of their time.

Sign left on the trails leading to an Edge area like a Beaver Pond are also good indicators of what animals are using the area.

     This Bobcat scat on the left was found just a few feet away from the dam itself. 

This scat on the right was left on one of the trails leading to the pond by a Black Bear.

One of the best spots to look for tracks on a active beaver pond is right on the dam itself. Dams serve as a kind of natural bridge for animals to cross on. Many times the top of the dam  consists of mud placed there by beavers to reinforce the structure.  Bears, Deer, Coyotes, Fox will all utilize the top of the dam to get from one side of the pond to the other and leave their tracks there for your identification. 

Next time your on an outing try to  find the Edge whether a beaver pond, mountain meadow, stream or agricultural field and you should have no problem finding animal sign.

                                                          Happy Tracking !!