Who's tracks are these?

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daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
On a walk along a small river yesterday I came across a lot of tracks in the mud left behind by flooding. All kinds of birds, badgers, dogs, people etc but can't quite work these out. The one to the right is my dog but who do the little ones belong to? I think it's probably squirrel but maybe mink? Just these 2 prints though so I can't get the walking pattern. I also forgot to use something for scale though which I'm sure doesn't help :eek:

I've been tempted to leave the trailcam down there but can't find a spot that's secluded enough where animals are likely to pass. If it is mink or something like that though I might risk it.

080113_zps5afa3fcd.jpg
 
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daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
2p would be around the right size actually. I'll see if I can find them again and measure. There's plenty of nice small trout in that river so I wouldn't be surprised.
 

daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
I might try and bait up a spot down there and leave the trail cam to see what comes to look. I might have to wait until the flooding risk has passed though...

What would be a good bait for a mink? I'm thinking an egg or something like that could work well.
 

mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
33
North Yorkshire, UK
mink
Look for some poo. If it has feathers and bits in, might be otter spraint.

Oh, and otters often slide down banks - if there is a slope down to a river, look for a point where they've been sliding. Mink don't seem to do this.

Mink aren't as shy about being seen - otters are really hard to spot.
 

Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,882
5
Dorset
I might try and bait up a spot down there and leave the trail cam to see what comes to look. I might have to wait until the flooding risk has passed though...

What would be a good bait for a mink? I'm thinking an egg or something like that could work well.

Something cheap and simple like some smelly cat food should work. You'll more than likely get rats too though.
 

Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,882
5
Dorset
Yeah - mink poo stinks and otter poo stinks . . . .

I've heard that otters tend to smell less 'fishy' but in my limited experience, they both stink.

Otter poo actually smells quite nice - lavender/jasmine type smell and only a faint fishy aroma (Christ, I sound like Jilly Goolden!).
Mink will knock you sideways, it's potent!

Look here http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=73496&daysprune=-1 and you'll find nearly every type of otter sign imaginable.
 

mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
33
North Yorkshire, UK
Otter poo actually smells quite nice - lavender/jasmine type smell and only a faint fishy aroma (Christ, I sound like Jilly Goolden!).

Must depend on the diet. We had an otter take up residence under our pontoon and give birth. 4-5 in the litter as far as we could make out. Absolutely amazed mum chose there for the litter; we lived aboard and were constantly tramping over thepontoon.

They were noisy, very smelly and we loved having them there. Apart from loving the otters, when they moved in the mink moved away. Didn't see the youngsters much, but did see mum. She'd pop a head up out of the water, hiss and glare at us then pop down. There are lots of fish in the river so I reckon their diet was exclusively fish. Certainly the pontoon started to smell like a fishing wharf.

Mink poop in big piles, sometimes (IME) where they sleep. It really really reeks and not just of fish, there is a real musk stink to it.
 

daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
I've been keeping a casual eye along this stretch of river, exploring where I can and looking for a promising place to leave the trail cam. Last week I saw some footprints in the sand and they lead to a shallow crossing point which looked ideal. As I was working out where to mount the camera my dog started sniffing around under some tree roots, I looked and he'd found a place that something regularly uses as a toilet. I mounted the camera under the roots facing this and so far these are the results...

PICT0046_zps652d6ed6.jpg
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Not conclusive but that's the best pic so far. Well unless you count these :D

PICT0041_zps8fcb8aa0.jpg


PICT0039_zpsde3534ce.jpg


Not what I was after but a lovely bonus. I'd never have guessed there were otters down there, the river is so small I could almost jump across it where the camera was placed. My evening just got better from there too. I put the spare memory card in the trail cam and set it back up, then sat on the shingle flicking through the photos on my camera. I looked upstream for a second and a pair of dippers rounded the bend at my head height and flew past me almost close enough to touch, as if I wasn't there. I stayed and watch the wrens on the far bank for a while but it was getting dark so I headed back to the car. Just as I was getting to the last bend in the river by where I'd parked I heard splashing up ahead so crept up to the bank above where the noise was coming from. Right down below me a pair of otters were hunting in the shallows, dipping under logs and coming up crunching what they'd found. Then the pair of them started chasing each other along the bank before heading off upstream and out of sight. I've never seen otters in the wild in this country so it was an incredibly special moment for me. If I hadn't seen the pictures on the trail cam I probably wouldn't have connected the splashing sounds with anything and walked right on past without seeing them.

I still won't be happy until I get a better shot of the first animal though :rolleyes:
 
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