One of the nice things about a garden full of fresh snow is the evidence of animal movements left behind. Our back garden was full of pigeon and cat tracks, but what stood out was the larger dog-like prints. I'm not aware of any of the neighbours having dogs so I'm suspecting that these are fox prints.

That's a pretty good detailed picture that I've managed to get above, neatly capturing the whole foot including the claws. However Googling for fox paw prints provides a set of conflicting pictures that leave me confused. The version on this BBC page looks nothing like it, being much more elongated, but the diagram here shows a stubbier fox print with the apparently defining feature (compared to dog prints) being that the outer pads are set back entirely behind the front ones with no overlap. That would appear to suggest mine is indeed a fox, but I'm not convinced.

Maybe it's just a really big cat with claws stuck out? These prints were significantly bigger than others in the garden that I know were made by cats, but cats come in different sizes and the tracks were in a neatly alternating line without separate back and front paw prints. Cats walk like this by putting their rear feet where their front feet were, but I don't know whether that's true of foxes. Maybe even foxes do this in the snow because it's easier than making twice as many holes. I have no idea. Your comments are very welcome!

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  1. we have some prints and dont know what sort of animal they come from we think that they are fox prints we have them all over the garden and because it hs snowed so we can see them more clearly we are still researching the prints

  2. I see similar prints again this year in the snow, with clear claws at the end. But I won’t quite be sure what they are until I see the perpetrator.

  3. I vote for fox. The triangle shape of the heelpad indicates a canid. In general, if you can draw an imaginary X within the track without hitting the heelpad, you’ve got a canid track. Unless you have a neighbour’s small dog trespassing in your garden, these must be from a fox 🙂
    Feline tracks are always very distinctive – wider than long, with a m-shaped heelpad, and one front toe is slightly ahead of the other. The notes in the first two photos in this album may help:

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