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Banff National Park

Identifying Carnivore Tracks

By taking basic safety precautions for carnivores such as wolves, cougars, and coyotes, we can minimize the risks to human safety and ensure the carnivores in Banff National Park remain wild. Wildness in this case means that these animals retain their natural fear of people.

Characteristics of Coyote Tracks

Coyote Track
Coyote Track

Four toe pads
Claws show
Elongated, symmetrical footprint
Hind print slight smaller
Average print 6.4 cm long
Smaller than wolf track

Characteristics of Wolf Tracks

Wolf Track
Wolf Track 

Four toe pads
Claws show or form drag marks
Elongated foot print, symmetrical
Triangular heel pad
Often travel in trenches through deep snow
Hind print slightly smaller
Tracks 10 - 12 cm long
Larger than coyote track

Characteristics of Cougar Tracks

Cougar Track
Cougar Track

Four toe pads form a semi-circle
Claws do not show, elongated foot print,asymmetrical
Three lobes on heel pad
Slow deliberate steps
Hind print slightly smaller
Tracks are wider than longer,"furry"
Double-register when walking
Tail drags in deep snow

Was That a Wolf or Coyote?

Wolf:
Black, white, grey, cream, brown: all shades. Never spotted.

36-45 kg, 67-82 cm tall at shoulder

 

  • tail hangs straight out or down,never curls, held straight out when running
  • ears are rounded, small, upright
  • feet are very large to body size.

Coyote:
All shades of tan and grey, rarely black. Never spotted.

9-16 kg, 50 cm tall at shoulder, tail hangs straight out or down, held down when running

  • ears are pointed, large, upright
  • feet are proportional to body size