Sipping my morning coffee and looking out the bay window in the dining room, I saw these strange tracks in the snow. (Click on any image to enlarge.) I finished the coffee, grabbed my camera, bundled up and headed out to investigate.
There are about thirty feet between our houses and these tracks covered about 4/5 of that distance and seemed to start a few feet from my air conditioning unit, which is the most likely domicile of the critter (at least until spring when I'll evict him/her or them). Assuming that's correct the tracks would start from the lower right. Other than the obvious, what is it, there are a few other observations and questions.
At first glance they seem to be alternating prints of the left and right legs, but it's more likely that one side is the outward bound journey and the other side is the inbound trail. If left-right, there are about 2"-2 1/2" between right and left tracks. If inbound-outbound, there are 4-5 inches between tracks.
There was a similar set of tracks about four days ago when the snow was fresh, but no undulating path. That's the part that has me scratching my head. It seems to start near my house, and there aren't any visible tracks inside the trail.
Even though they don't look like mouse or chipmunk track pictures I've located online, I'm guessing mouse, but the trail has me stumped. It seems to it begin near my house, but if the critter was dragging something there no evidence of what it was and more importantly, the drag marks don't go to either end of the trail, and there are no apparent footprints in the drag trail.
I wish I was still teaching. This would be a great way to combine writing and science. If you are a teacher and would like to use these photos, feel free to grab them and craft them into any kind of lesson you so desire. If you do, I'd love to hear about it.
If you are a relative of Davy Crockett and have a good idea of what's happening here, I'd also love to hear from you.
Until then, I'll be watching future snowfalls carefully!