While hiking, camping, or even walking around your own property, you may have come upon animal tracks you don’t recognize. A few are obvious, such as the split hooves of deer or the thumbed feet of oppossums, but others may not be as clear. Understanding these footprints can help you know which species occupy your surrounding area, in turn making it easier to find food sources and avoid predators.

Photo: Ozzy Delaney / Flickr

Photo: Ozzy Delaney / Flickr.com

While you’re not going to mistake a grizzly bear track for that of a horse, there are other tracks which can be easily confused with undesirable consequences. If you don’t know what to look for, you might mix up squirrel tracks with that of a skunk and end up with a stinky surprise. Or you could think a set of mountain lion footprints are those of a dog — these prints are a similar size, but cat prints rarely leave claw marks.

The following infographic from Alan’s Factory Outlet shows 50 different animal tracks from North-American species, and it’s worth studying before your next outdoor trek. You probably won’t spot most of these, but if you keep an eye out in the mud near streams or lakes, you might identify a few of the rarer animals in your area. Click here to download a full-size version of this graphic.

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