Stuarts' Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern, Central and East African Wildlife, by Chris and Tilde Stuart.
Sometimes it is not immediately obvious what type of animal left a particular track or dropping: was it a bird, a reptile, a mammal, an invertebrate? Stuarts' Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern, Central and East African Wildlife by Chris and Tilde Stuart is unique in its approach: rather than listing animals in taxonomic order along with their tracks and signs, it allows you to navigate quickly via a series of keys to arrive at the correct animal group or species.
The following steps will help you to identify the species that left a particular track: Look at the shape of your track and refer to the Quick reference - tracks on the inside front cover. This key divides tracks into broad groups based on easily observable features including shape and size. Alternatively, you can begin with the General key to tracks in Chapter One, p. 24. Once you've established the group, turn to the specific key for that group, which allows you to compare the relative proportions of similar-looking tracks and will refer you on to individual species accounts. Where possible, species that occur in close association and that are easily confused are grouped together in the group keys and accompanying accounts. Depending on the available information, each account provides a description, track sketches, measurements and photographs of the animal's tracks under different conditions, all of which will help you to confirm the identity of your track. The track sketches show an 'ideal' track, and, wherever possible, are accompanied by photographs of the tracks as you are most likely to see them. Photographs of the feet themselves are included, where this may be helpful. Except where otherwise indicated, the lengths given in species accounts are averages without the claws, based on measurements from hundreds of tracks and, where relevant, additional measurements, such as greatest width, main pad size and claw length, are also included. For the general keys one particular track has been used as the base for each illustration, which is why specific measurements are listed there.
Identifying droppings or dung
To identify droppings or dung: Look at the shape of the dung sample you wish to identify and refer to Quick reference - droppings on p. 1 or to the more detailed General key to droppings in ChapterTwo, p. 236.These keys divide droppings into groups based on their form. Once you've decided into which broad group your sample seems to fall, turn to the description for that group and look at the accompanying photographs. If the General key to droppings refers you to the antelope, go to the Key to antelope dung pellets on p. 248, and check the individual species descriptions and photographs. Bear in mind that tracks differ depending on an animal's habitat and living conditions. For example, a population of antelope living in a sandy region may evolve longer hooves than is typical of the species elsewhere. Likewise, a foot may splay in sand or mud to provide the animal with better purchase.The Great Dane that left the track shown on p. 18 had slipped in the mud, leaving a totally distorted impression of its foot. A track in firm damp silt will usually be clear and will accurately portray the animal's foot structure, but if the same individual steps on loose sand the chances of correct identification are greatly reduced. For this reason it is always a good idea to follow a trail until you find a clear track. Remember that the tracks of members of the same species can show considerable variation.This may reflect the age composition of a population (since young animals leave smaller tracks), differences between individuals, or the influence of the substrate. [...]
This is an excerpt from Stuarts' Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern, Central and East African Wildlife, by Chris and Tilde Stuart.
Title: Stuarts' Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern, Central and East African Wildlife
Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Imprint: Struik Nature
5th edition. Cape Town, South Africa 2019
ISBN 9781775846925 / ISBN 978-1-77-584692-5
Softcover, 14 x 21 cm, 488 pages, throughout colour photos and images
Stuart, Chris und Stuart, Tilde im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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