Agile and lightweight, squirrels create footprints that are notoriously difficult to find. Their prints are also commonly confused with rabbit tracks because both pests have the same galloping gait. Trackers tend to follow other signs, like broken twigs and chewed acorns, rather than actual squirrel tracks to find the pests.
Although squirrel tracks vary in size and shape by species, all squirrels are bounders. This means that their rear feet land in front of their forefeet or right next to them when they run. As a result, homeowners tracking squirrels should look for groupings of four prints close together.
Observe Shape and Placement
Squirrels have four toes on their front feet and five on their rear feet. More often than not, the claws of the hind foot are visible in squirrel tracks, but not on the front. Sometimes the pests’ tails or bellies will also drag, leaving a mark down the center of the tracks in snow and sand.
A tree squirrel’s rear feet tend to point straight forward, while its forefeet are turned outward at a slight diagonal. Ground squirrels, on the other hand, place their feet parallel to each other.
Average adult ground or tree squirrels have front feet about an inch wide and rear feet measuring two inches across. Flying squirrel tracks are about half this size. However, because the pests spend the majority of their time in trees, finding prints is rare. Tracks this size typically belong to mice or other small rodents.
Where Are Squirrel Tracks Found?
Ground squirrel prints are easiest to find at the entrance to their burrows, where the soil is softened from the pests’ constant coming and going. Flying and tree squirrel tracks tend to be found at the base of trees.