This week, Tanda Tula's #trackitthursday animal track belongs to the elusive spotted cat - the leopard.
In true safari style, here are a few facts about the track and paw of this beautiful animal:
- 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.
- Front pad tracks tend to be more round while back pad tracks are slightly more oval.
- Size 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.
- 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 scratch on a tree they are also leaving behind their scent and in turn marking their territory.
- If 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.