Spoor Guide

African Civet (Civetticus civetta)

African Civet (Civetticus civetta)
The civet has five toes on the fore- and
hind-feet, but only four toes show on the
tracks of both, as the first toes are set
far back and don’t touch the ground.
The toes have claws and these are
supposed to show in the tracks but in
this example, there are no claw marks
clearly visible.
The difference between dogs and cats
There are a couple of differences between dog and cat tracks, the more
obvious one being the pad. Cats tend to have a tri-lobal pad (three lobes)
whereas dogs have a bi-lobal pad (two lobes). Sometimes this is not too
apparent in the field, but the best example of this is the hyaena versus the
The hyaena has an obvious double lobe on the back of the pad whereas the
lion has three clear lobes to the back of the pad. Another identifying
characteristic, but one that is not always present, is that dogs always have
claw marks at the front of the track, whereas most cats don’t show claws
because they are retractable. But there are exceptions for example, the
cheetah, which is unable to retract its claws.

White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)

The Perissodactyls – odd-toed ungulates:
White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium
The white rhino has a broad track
compared to that of the black rhino. It
has three well-pronounced toes and the
back of the main pad has a very clear
“w” shape which differentiates it from
the black rhino. The cushioned pads on
the soles of the feet have a random
particular pattern which enables
individual animals to be identified and

Lion (Panthera leo)


Lion (Panthera leo)
The track in the picture belongs to a
male lion. The male’s tracks are a lot
larger and broader than the female’s.
The toes of the female are also more
slender than the male’s. Neither show
claw marks, as their claws are

Leopard (Panthera pardus)


Leopard (Panthera pardus)
The track in the picture is that of a
male. The tracks of the male are a lot
larger and broader than the female’s.
The toes of the female are more
slender. Neither show claw marks, as
their claws are retractable.

Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo)

Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo)
Unfortunately the tracks in the picture
are not very clear, as this particular
mongoose was highly mobile! The
digits, however, are visible. The
mongoose has five toes on the forefeet.
The first one is fairly small and situated
behind the intermediate pad. It has five
toes on the hind-feet. There are claws
on both the hind and front feet. The
claws on the front feet are long and
sharply curved, while those on the rear
feet are heavier, less curved and
shorter. Nails are used for scratching
around to find food amongst the grass
and sand.

Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta)

Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta)
What is clear from the picture is the
bi-lobal pad as opposed to the lion's
spoor, which has three lobes. The claw
marks are not too clear but can be
faintly seen to the trained eye, just
above the pad marks. With hyaenas
having a matriarchal clan system, the
females tend to be bigger than the
males. Thus, it goes without saying that
the female spoor is bigger than the
male's. The track in the picture is more
than likely a female.

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