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Track interpretation

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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The ability to track is more involved than just looking for prints , you need to also be able to interpret them aswell.
I will just show two pictures unfortuneatly I did not have my wide angle lense to show the complete story.
View attachment 9478View attachment 9479
The two pics above are of the same animal which I believe to be a Red necked Wallaby (first pic) due to the lack of the visible third toe pad and narrow space between foot pad and toe pads. These two tracks are also follow in sequence of the tracks I followed. What you can't see due to no wide angle lense is the second pic is in a narrow washed out area about 1000mm wide and about 700mm deep also in the same area very close was Canine tracks.
What I came too as far as to what I was seeing was the wallaby was in full flight running for safety. Why? there were also dog tracks in full stride in same area, but the wallaby tracks were very wide apart a lot larger than 1000-1200mm regularly seen. The other sign this wallaby was in a state of fleeing is in the last print, It was within 1 foot of the wall of the washout meaning its tail most likely made contact with it , no hand prints to indicate it was attempting to drink and the width of the wash out was narrow enough for the wallaby to leap in a full regular stride.
 
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Hairyman

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Just because wallaby and dog have traveled over the same ground and in the same direction, it doesnt mean the dog was chasing the wallaby or trailing it.
Animals will choose the same parth of least resistance to move about.
The wallaby tracks were of a relaxed animal, slowing to a slow punt a few meters on.
There was no wallaby in sight when I saw my dog briefly cover the same ground.... and yes she has very big feet.
View attachment 9548
 

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Hairyman

Ludwig Leichhardt
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Easy to miss this probable rednecked wallaby track.
The claw tips are the most obvious, the the small rock in the middle is pressed into the wet ground slightly and
very faint, impressions of the toes behing the claws.
The wallaby was moving from bottom right to top left of the pic, the feet did not land exactly together, perhaps he/she was turning slightly.
Speed was likely a slow (walking speed) hop.
DSCF6356 (640x480).jpg
 

auscraft

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Hairyman
The print above is something I have been looking into, As you state they did not line up I have also found this with one foot off on an angle aswell.
I thought at first the reasons were the normal things Turning, slipping, loss of balance ,But in fact it appears to be a normal thing.
What I ended up discovering is what has led me to starting the tracking measurement list. Why? because this type of print was known by the aboriginals in fact out in central Queensland the Aboriginal was able to differ at least two species of rat kangaroo by the the gait alone and I am hopping to either find written records or discover ourselves the possiblity to recognise the swamp and red-necked wallaby both of which are very similar.

The description of the tracks I mentioned above was The right foot was advaced by 150mm of the left and the left was on a 30deg outward rotation. The direction of travel was/is in line with the right foot not left . I too have seen this in wallabies but not as a regular /permanent habit just time to time , but do find the straight foot is the direction of travell and not an attempt to turn.

View attachment 9680
 
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Aussie123

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That's very interesting.

Have you observer the two species (live) to see the difference in their foot positions ?
I suspect that such a pronounced feature would show up in the bones too; I did a quick look, but couldn't see any clear on-line pictures of articulated skeletons.
 

auscraft

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No I have not seen the two in question myself. But I have seen the swamp wallaby often showing one foot out on an angle and back during a normal gait patterns
 

Dusty Miller

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I wonder if larger pouch young can influence how they put their legs down.
 

auscraft

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The two rat kangaroos I mentioned above were the Desert Rat Kangaroo and the Burrowing Bettong , it was the desert rat kangaroo that had the unusual gait (finlayson 1932) that the aboriginals were aware of and knew the difference.
The desert rat kangaroo is classed as extinct but apparently there is still some hope it maybe around still in very small numbers. It won't be the first time this species has not been seen in many years.
 

auscraft

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That would imply a Male - Female difference (at least in adults) ?

Even if that is the only difference i think that would be a good piece of Knowlege to have , and a very good thought Dusty M. Now just to try and find out for sure:)
 

Dusty Miller

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Now just to try and find out for sure:)

Alright, you catch a wallaby and I'll bring the house bricks and some duct tape.

I was thinking also that asymetric placement might give more movement options (easier to change direction). Some of the smaller species like swamp wallaby live in areas (scrubby creeks and interfaces between forest and plains where lots of understorey plants grow) where vision may be restricted and the destination for the jump after next may not be obvious until they land on the next jump, so they may have to keep options open. I think changing direction from a symetric placement might place big strains on the joints at the back of the foot. You could always test this yourself in your back yard, you will need a tail and some ears for balance though.
 

Aussie123

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Alright, you catch a wallaby and I'll bring the house bricks and some duct tape.

I was thinking also that asymetric placement might give more movement options (easier to change direction). Some of the smaller species like swamp wallaby live in areas (scrubby creeks and interfaces between forest and plains where lots of understorey plants grow) where vision may be restricted and the destination for the jump after next may not be obvious until they land on the next jump, so they may have to keep options open. I think changing direction from a symetric placement might place big strains on the joints at the back of the foot. You could always test this yourself in your back yard, you will need a tail and some ears for balance though.

... so would that would imply they tend to hop to the right if under stress, like being chased ? Hopping left, when at speed, would be more tricky ?

Are there other any other “asymmetric” gaits that anyone knows of ?
 

Dusty Miller

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I think under pursuit speed is paramount. I was thinking more as they pick their way through thick stuff. Might be a habit in the scrub living wallabies. I doubt they favour one foot or the other, most animals seem to transfer weight frequently to stop fatigue.

I actually had a swamp wallaby pass between me and a gum tree, a gap of about 18 inches, when it was hard pressed by a large dog. I had just put down my camera in the gap, luckily it didn't land on it. I think wallabies might use different evasion strategies for different threats too (eagles vs dogs for instance)..
 

Aussie123

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auscraft

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Another thing I noticed in one of the above links was there was findings for male & female.
 

Hairyman

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It appears from this track, that wallabies can determine where they put their feet to avoid landing on rocks.
Not suprising when you think about it.
DSCF6498 (640x559).jpg
 
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