Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tropical Track

...For anyone who cares to do a bit of research and take a stab at what
this is.


  1. Forgot an important piece of info: The Belizean $10 bill measures 2 and 3/4 inches in width.

  2. 2 3/4" = 70 mm

    Belize has 5 cats: Jaguar, Puma, Margay, Jaguarundi, and Ocelot

    Track sizes (at least in Guyana):
    Jaguar: 95 mm across
    Puma: 80 mm across
    Ocelot: front 60 mm, hind 50 mm
    Jaguarundi: 40 mm across
    Margay: front and hind 35 mm, arboreal

    Ocelot is common, the other four are rare. Margay only leave tracks in trees.

    I'll guess Puma. Do I win the $10 bill?

  3. I thought it was either a large ocelot or small puma (same as cougar). It is larger than any of the measurements I could find for ocelot (whihc is about the size of a bobcat, maybe a bit smaller), but the absolute minimum for cougar.

    Tracking in the jungle was an amazing experience. The plant diversity was overwhelming, and our guide was rattling off their names and medicinal uses. I wish I had taken notes, because I've forgotten all of it.

    As you said, there are 5 wild felids in Belize. Interestingly, there is only one wild canid - the gray fox. And, since dogs are allowed to roam and breed freely, no one actually "walks" their dog. The dogs tend to stay close to the people who feed them, and since the country is so sparsely populated and huge tracts of undeveloped land are still intact, dogs (like the similarly freely roaming and breeding domestic cats )do not penetrate into the jungle. Or, rather, the few that do, soon become food for wildlife.

    So, it is not common to find canid tracks in the jungle (we never saw any), while felid tracks are quite common. All of the cat tracks we saw appeared to be either ocelot or cougar. No jaguar tracks, unfortunately.

    Yeah, the margay is fascinating - mostly arboreal, about the size of a house cat. Unlike other cats, it can partially rotate the hind feet while it runs down a tree head first, clinging like a squirrel.

    Yes, Dan, you win the Belizean $10. I think it is worth about US $.05. Can you wait until I see you next, or should I drop it in the mail?