9
   

Mystery footprint

 
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2011 08:53 pm
@Builder,
http://uqconnect.net/~zzpclach/footprints.htm

This site has a similar print to yours and they've called it a mystery print as well.
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2011 08:59 pm
what do you think?

Wallaroo Front
http://uqconnect.net/~zzpclach/front-wallaroo.gif

http://uqconnect.net/~zzpclach/footprints.htm
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2011 10:11 pm
@dadpad,
The palm of the print is more elongated. The heel is narrow and squared.

I checked several dozen sites before posting on the pics on this one.
0 Replies
 
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2011 10:12 pm
@Ceili,
Yeah, I checked that site out. I'm gonna contact the WA University crew, and see what they reckon.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Mar, 2011 05:43 am
@Builder,
Can you describe the head, face, ears, snout etc in more detail?
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Mar, 2011 06:02 am
@rosborne979,
No. I can't give any details there. I was travelling at eighty kilometres an hour when I passed the critter. I can say that it did not have proud ears, like those on a dog or kangaroo.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Mar, 2011 10:25 am
@Builder,
Builder wrote:
No. I can't give any details there. I was travelling at eighty kilometres an hour when I passed the critter. I can say that it did not have proud ears, like those on a dog or kangaroo.

You've described a very unusual animal. A mammal, fairly large, with no (or very short) tail, sitting/standing on hind limbs, but skuttling away on all fours, dark fur, no obvious (proud) ears, body stature resembling a hyena (bulky top, narrow bottom). From the description, I might have guessed hyena or even chimpanzee, but the footprint is clearly something different.

The footprint is the only physical evidence we have. Even though we can't identify it, it is clearly not chimp or canine, so we should be able to rule those out. In shape, the print most closely resembles a rodent or squirrel or something like that, with long toes and claws, but the size is unusual for a critter like that.

Since the footprint is the only physical evidence, the next place I would go if I wanted to identify it would be to a local biology person (maybe a vet) or a local hunter (tracker). They may be able to identify the print instantly.

This is most likely a native animal, but it could have been introduced. Also, it could be an animal which is sick (mange) or injured or deformed in some way, so its appearance could be very deceptive. Without seeing more of them it's going to be very hard to know for sure.

I think the best place to start is with the track itself and to forget about the animal itself. Since you've got such good impressions and multiple copies of them, the track alone should be sufficient to identify it for anyone familiar with animals of that area. And if it's a non-native species, then you just need someone who is familiar with a wide variety of tracks who can narrow it down to a particular genus.

Hope that helps.
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2011 01:51 am
@rosborne979,
Thanks for your input and interest. I'm wondering ab0ut the long toes and claws. Might be a tree-climbing animal? There are some tree-climbing kangaroos in the north of QLD, and I think in PNG. Anyways, I posted the video to utoob. About all it shows apart from the stills are the several claw-tracks, where possibly the front paws are not taking any weight.

Here's the vid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj4vku_mHrU
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2011 02:35 am
still reckon a macropod but i guess there's enough room for doubt.
The small "claw" marks in the vid add weight.

On another unrelated note can you tell me what if anything is at finch island which is off the coast NW (ish) of where you are? Stuff like camping ground facilities infrastructure, could we day trip? We could camp even if there is no facilities.
Any chance you could ask around for me?
Its really only a passing fancy but the wife and i thought we might see if we could visit at some time.
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2011 03:01 am
@dadpad,
Cockatoo island, which is part of the same group of islands as Finch island, has just signed off on a major iron-ore mining agreement. Some of the purest iron ore ever found. 17 k's or so by boat, from Finch island, I have no information about Finch island for you, Dadpad. But there is a large community, clinic, store, fuel supply at Cockatoo. No idea about camping, but if you want to see the place before the miners take over, now is the time.

That's why I drove my little truck over this way. The gas plant going in at Price's point will the the thin edge of the wedge. I'm taking it all in before the crowd arrives.

You'd need a decent sized boat, and minimum outboard size of forty horses. The tidal flow here is incredibly strong. You could actually stay at our community, as we have the most comfortable aircon accommodation on the peninsular, as well as camping facilities, and there is a boat-ramp twenty minutes drive away.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2011 10:37 am
@Builder,
Builder wrote:
Thanks for your input and interest. I'm wondering ab0ut the long toes and claws. Might be a tree-climbing animal?

The problem is the tail (or lack thereof). Very few mammals in Australia have no tail. We've really only got a couple to choose from, Wombats and Koala's, and those tracks look like neither of those.

Footprints can be deceptive if you only have one or two of them. Where there more of those prints, and how far apart were they? Could you tell by the track whether the animal was hopping or walking? Can you determine left-foot/right-foot from the tracks?

I still think you need a local wildlife guy to look at the tracks. He could probably tell you right away what it was.
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2011 08:03 am
@rosborne979,
I recall a story of an hermaphrodite dingo in the Killarney district west of Brisbane back in the sixties. Massive front shoulders, smaller waist and back legs, with huge claws, and the fixation with eating sheep livers to the exclusion of the rest of the sheep.

The tracker who eventually shot this animal, which was labelled a panther, because it had been through a bushfire, and all of its hide was scorched black, was so repulsed by the appearance of this animal, that he refused to take the scalp for his reward money.

I'm hoping that someone can come up with a logical explanation for what I saw. I've posted the pics and footage to a couple of sites where such aberrations are often discussed.

Once again, thanks for your interest and information. I'll update this as new information comes my way.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2011 12:09 pm
@Builder,
The possibility that this animal could be either non-native, or even more oddly, a "damaged" or "mal-formed" individual in some way, could make identification impossible.

Since the only physical evidence you have to work with is the footprint (or photo's of the prints), I still think you need a local biologist to weigh in on what could have made them.

I love a good mystery, and I like trying to identify animals, but we are quickly exhausting all remaining avenues of inquiry on this one. If there are only a few animals that have "no" tail, and if none of those animals leave a track even remotely like the ones you found, then we either have a mal-formed animal, or one of our initial assumptions is incorrect (there was a tail, or the tracks you found belong to another animal).
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2011 08:47 pm
@rosborne979,
Firstly, the spot was clearly marked by a fallen tree on the opposite side of the track, within forty metres of our landfill tip, so I'm 100% sure the tracks were made by the animal I saw.

I'm thinking that if it did have a tail, it may have tucked it up underneath itself, like some dogs do when cowtowed. But these tracks are clearly not those of a dog.

I love a good mystery also, and I've given the info to a researcher of thylacine sightings and other mystery animal sightings. He's passed the info on to other colleagues for assessment. He actually asked all the same questions that you did.

0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2011 09:00 pm
@Builder,
Builder wrote:

You'd need a decent sized boat, and minimum outboard size of forty horses. The tidal flow here is incredibly strong. You could actually stay at our community, as we have the most comfortable aircon accommodation on the peninsular, as well as camping facilities, and there is a boat-ramp twenty minutes drive away.

I doubt I'd be towing a boat all that way unless we were looking at an extended stay. I'd probably look to hire or charter for a drop off and pick up.
Thanks for the info. how far (Km or Hours, bush measurement is OK) would it be from where you are? a day there and a day back? 4 hrs 2 hrs.
whats the fishing like?
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2011 02:15 am
@dadpad,
Fishing is extraordinary up this way. From the map, it would appear to be about 220 k's from our place. Way too far for a day trip in any kind of boat I can imagine. Closer to Derby or One Arm Point.

There are charter vessels working from Broome to Derby and Wyndham, but they are rather expensive full charter operations. Not sure if they would do a drop off and pick-up deal. A small sea-plane charter would be way cheaper.

Just curious, what is the attraction with that particular island?
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2011 05:25 am
@Builder,
My wife has a family connection to places with the name Finch.

Kind of a visit all the towns named Fred thing.
plius I'v never been to the west or NT for that matter.

plus (i hate to admit it) its close to grey nomad time for us
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2011 06:36 am
@dadpad,
I've never been to Australia and I would really like to see any part of it. Unfortunately it's a long way away, and right now my life is filled with working and baby care, so extensive vacations are not on the horizon. That's partly why I like threads like this, at least I get to think about what it's like down there Smile
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2011 02:21 pm
Ros wrote:
Wombats and Koala's, and those tracks look like neither of those.

Even though I agree with most of you analysis, I'm convinced that an adult wombat, maybe a very old one, could leave these prints.

http://animal.discovery.com/guides/baby-animals/mammals/gallery/common-wombat.jpg
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2011 02:31 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:
Even though I agree with most of you analysis, I'm convinced that an adult wombat, maybe a very old one, could leave these prints.

Old Wombat. Interesting theory.

It might account for the odd hair and coloring and it matches the "no tail" observation. I haven't seen enough real wombat tracks to know if they could make those tracks or not. And I've never seen an OLD wombat. An experienced individual who is familiar with local tracks would still be very helpful in all this.
 

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