Wildlife Tracking 101: Anatomy of a Track

To learn how to track you must first understand some basics of anatomy. If you can understand what part of the foot made that mark, and if you know terminology, you can start to ID the track and communicate to other trackers what you see.

The best way to learn the anatomy of the track is to look at your own hands and feet. The structure of the human hand is the same as all mammals and the same anatomy can be applied to most tracks. 

Digital pad: The anatomical term for toe pads.

Metacarpal pads: the palm pads of front foot

Carpal pads: the heel pad of the front foot

Metatarsal pads: the palm pads of the hind foot

Tarsal pads: the heel pad of the hind foot

Don’t forget! front feet = carpals, hind feet = tarsals. A way to remember it is that you get carpal-tunnel in your hand not your foot.