By Chris Stall
Information on 40-50 animals universal to every zone.
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Extra resources for Animal Tracks of Southern California
Diet: vegetation, berries, grains, seeds, insects, and carrion. " The most widespread ground-living squirrel species in Southern California, the white-tailed antelope squirrel is difficult to distinguish from locally common Harris's antelope squirrel, the Panamint, lodgepole, and Merriam's chipmunks, and the round-tailed and golden-mantled ground squirrels. Most have more or less distinctive black and white stripes from nose to moderately bushy tail; they hold their tails over their backs as they leap and scurry over the ground.
Consequently, partial track impressions can be confusing. Most of the time, the gray squirrel scampers rather than walks, so its long rear heels don't leave prints. The real keys to recognizing the tracks of a western gray squirrel are the number of toesfour on the front feet, five on the rearand knowing the general track characteristics common to all members of the squirrel family. First, impressions of the entire toes, rather than just the tips, are often present. Second, two middle toes of the front feet and the three middle toes of the rear feet are nearly always out ahead of, and parallel to, the heel pads, with the outer toes splayed out to the sides.
The track of an earthworm crosses from the lower left to upper right corner. You might initially mistake a variety of scuffs and scratches left by windblown or otherwise dislodged debris, the imprint of raindrops that have fallen from overhanging limbs, impressions left by the smallest mice, or even the perplexing calligraphy of toads for insect marks. If you have more than a square foot or so of ground surface to scrutinize, however, you will usually find that insect tracks form a recognizably connected line; the extremely shallow depth of the trail of imprints is also a good clue that a very lightweight being has passed by.
Animal Tracks of Southern California by Chris Stall