Conservation // 2 min Read

Marsh Tracks

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Dec 01, 2020

The marshes surrounding Palmetto Bluff fill and spill with water from the ocean on a never-ending 12-hour loop. Local fauna, going about their daily lives, are deeply connected to the rise and fall of the tide. Their footprints tell the story. White-tail deer cling to its edges for safe, easy travel. Raccoons frequent the marsh looking for their prey which consists of crustaceans and snails that also leave their endless and aimless ribbons of tracks behind. The wild pig is also a visitor to the marsh at low tide feeding on snails and whatever else they can find. The coyote and bobcats visit the marsh at low tide to hunt for their prey which consists of small rodents, piglets, and in some cases, smaller furbearers such as the raccoon. As the tide slowly but surely starts to come in, wading bird tracks can be found. These stealthy, motionless birds stand with necks cocked back, ready to strike unsuspecting fish and crustaceans that come in with the rising tide. The marsh is harsh yet plentiful. It is a network of never-ending edges and subtleties that call to local critters and the fortunate humans that live along the seams.

coyote

One factor that helps distinguish a canine track from a feline is the symmetrical toes and the X-shape that is formed between the toes and foot pad.

pigs 1
pigs 2

Pigs commonly travel through the marsh and their tracks are more oval-shaped than a deer track which is more pointed and looks similar to a heart.

The large, slender-toed bird feet belong to a species of wading bird whereas the smaller bird feet are from some species of shorebird. The more human-like tracks are from a raccoon searching for some food.

raccoon

Raccoons can be seen out in the marsh day and night as they will follow the tides and forage during low tide.

snails

You would imagine an animal needs to have feet for leaving behind tracks, but these winding paths are the telling sign of snail activity!

wading bird

Wading birds move through the marsh in search of crabs, shrimp, small fish, and maybe even a rodent in the case of great blue herons!

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