Friday, October 15, 2010

Big Kitty

We went hiking in a new state park, St. Marks River State Park, on Sunday afternoon. The park is open but not yet developed ---and who knows when it will be. We were the only humans we saw in the couple of hours that we hiked five miles down a sandy road. The place has a very subtle beauty about it. Though it skirts along the St. Marks River, we were never within sight of it. The river floodplain was visible.

The sandy road was full of animal tracks. The light was better coming back out and we saw some very large ones that we tracked for some distance.  I was hoping for bear. We are reasonably sure they are panther tracks. They were the size of the palm of my hand.

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6 comments:

Big Bend Blog said...

While I would love those tracks to have been left by a panther, I'm pretty sure they belong to a bobcat. Their tracks are very similar in shape and size.

S N B said...

BBB: While I will agree that a bobcat is more likely, I have yet to see a bobcat that wears a size 15 shoe. As I said, the track was the size of my palm. And I do not have small hands.

Big Bend Blog said...

The largest panther tracks can get is around 2 and a half inches. Perhaps, it belongs to a bear. They range from 5 to 7 inches. This would be much closer to the size of your hand.

WLHAWH said...

However it looks nothing like a bear track. Unless it was only walkin on it's forelegs.

S N B said...

According to http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw144
which is the University of Florida's IFAS resource page on panthers, the track GENERALLY measures 3 x 3.5 inches.
According to Scats and Tracks of the Southeast: A Field Guide to the Signs of Seventy Wildlife Species, (Halfpenny, J. and Bruchac, J.), 2002, the size is 3.5 X 3.5 inches.

We have seen bear tracks. We have seen many bobcat tracks. These were neither.

S N B said...

http://www.bigbendfishing.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=27073
This is discussion about a panther sighted on the Lighthouse road.