OK, outdoorsmen and Boy Scouts, line up to take a laugh at me. But they say there are no stupid questions if they’re asked sincerely so I’m willing to be ridiculed.

Over the weekend I found these tracks in the snow by my driveway and I’ve been curious what left them. Can anyone help me out?

We have a little dog named but these definitely aren’t his paw prints. Also, while it’s always a possibility a larger stray dog came onto my yard, I doubt it. I’ve lived here for years now and no neighbor lets their dog run loose and I’ve never seen strays here.

Plus I looked up various animal foot prints online and while close, this doesn’t quite look like a dog print to me.

Is this a coyote?

According to the internet, the toe prints on a dog are more symmetrically spread out whereas a coyote’s outer toes are set closer in and not quite but almost slightly behind the center toes. Also on a dog the pad in the middle of the print has no lobe whereas the coyote pad leaves a tiny lobe curve in the middle back.

Jeff Deminski photo
Jeff Deminski photo
Jeff Deminski photo

In the photos I have it looks like the print on the far left has that lobe. And the toes seem slightly set behind each other. Also, I read a coyote print is about 2 1⁄2 inches long and 2 inches wide. That’s a match for what these are. I offered the one pic with my foot in it for perspective.

If this was just a dog, then yes, boring. But like I said, I’ve never seen a stray running around here but I know for fact we have coyotes. I’ve heard the howls on a few nights. I’ve seen one lurking at a distance in the woods behind our house. And I’ve seen the glowing eyes in the wash of my headlights inside those woods.

If left by a coyote that means a coyote was 20 feet from our door. Kind of both cool and not cool at the same time.

But are there other possibilities? A fox? Anything else? When you’re done laughing, let me know your best guess.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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