Tom and Jerry leave clues

29 September 2015

comp cat mouse 550rec

These footprints left on paper in a tracking tunnel tell us both a cat and a mouse walked through. Maybe Tom was chasing Jerry but it's more likely they went through at different times.

Jerry the mouse leaves tiny footprints that look like a scattering of dots on the paper. On closer inspection, though, the roughly circular pattern of toe and pad prints can be seen, which help to distinguish mice prints from the 'dotty' prints insects and lizards can also leave. The mouse in this example seems to have gone reasonably straight but mice often scurry back and forth, making a great mess of dots on tracking paper. More about mouse footprints >

Tom the cat leaves much bigger footprints, more than 40 mm long and 30 mm wide. Cat footprints usually show the four toes in an arc above the heart-shaped central pad. Claw marks aren't often seen because cats' claws are retractable. Cats are adept hunters (unfortunately for our native birds) and their paws and walking gait are designed for silent movement when hunting. More about cat footprints >