Have you ever wanted to take a walk on the wild side to discover the world’s most iconic national animals? Learn how to identify the footprints of these often-elusive creatures and you’ll be on their trail in no time.
Komodo Dragon (Indonesia) 1
The world’s largest living lizards are found on the tropical islands of central Indonesia. They can grow to 10ft long and until 1912, the western world thought they were mythological, so prehistoric was their appearance. This is one real life dragon that should be approached with caution.
North American Beaver (Canada) 2
North America’s largest rodent can usually be found busily searching for food near streams, ponds and lakes. Its webbed feet make it perfectly adapted to life in and around water. They are mostly active at night, so don’t forget get your torch and wellies.
Giant Panda (China) 3
This cuddly but antisocial national treasure spends most of its time alone eating, resting, or looking for more food. They can usually be found in large bamboo forests on humid and high mountain slopes. Looking to chill? Why not do it with these beautiful lazy bears.
Bengal Tiger (India) 4
These solitary tigers sit proudly at the top of the food chain in the wild. Their stripes help them camouflage as they stalk their prey, but don’t worry, despite their fearsome reputation, they usually avoid humans.
Kiwi (New Zealand) 5
This unique and curious bird has literally gone pear-shaped. They can’t fly, but they do have an excellent sense of smell, which they use to forage for their diet of worms, grubs, bugs, berries and seeds. Kiwis are typically nocturnal so can usually be spotted rummaging around at night.
The world’s tallest animal uses its patterned coats as camouflage, although, let’s face it, they are pretty hard to miss. They spend most of their day eating, taking their pick of the tender leaves of the high branches that the other animals can’t reach.
Bald Eagle (USA)7
These iconic birds use their talons to fish and they get many of their meals by scavenging carrion or stealing the kills of other animals. They can usually be found near water where fish are plentiful. Look out for their snowy-feathered heads and white tails.
Gray Wolf (Turkey) 8
These grizzled wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of seven to eight. They have a complex communication system, so you if you spot their tracks you might also hear them howling. They are more active at dawn and dusk, so keep your eyes and ears peeled if you want to join the pack.
Snow Leopard (Afghanistan) 9
Their thick fur patterned with dark spots is the perfect camouflage for the elusive snow leopard. They are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscapes of the Himalayas and notoriously hard to spot. They are most active at dawn and dusk, so keep your eyes peeled.
Red Kangaroo (Australia) 10
Commonly spotted in deserts and open grasslands, the world’s largest marsupial can be seen hopping along at high speed on their powerful hind legs. Don’t expect to keep up if you’re on foot though, a red kangaroo can reach speeds of over 35 miles an hour.
These gentle giants are the largest land animals in the world. They are intelligent and have memories that span many years. They can usually be spotted in herds due to their deep family bonds and if you spot this footprint, chances are they’re not far away.
Huemul (Chile) 12
The huemul deer is the iconic animal of Chile. Notoriously difficult to spot, they favour solitude and usually live either completely alone or in groups of no more than two or three. But our short-legged, stocky friend can sometimes be spotted joyfully leaping through the Andes.
So now you know what footprints to look for, you’re ready to pack your bags and go wild in search of these iconic animals.
1. Bradford, A. (2014)Komodo Dragon Facts.livescience.com
2. IUCN (2017).Castor canadensis.iucnredlist.org
3. IUCN (2017).Ailuropodamelanoleuca.iucnredlist.org
4. Dacres, K.Pantheratigristigris.animaldiversity.org
5. Bradford, Alina. (2017).Facts About Kiwis. livescience.com
6. IUCN (2017).Giraffacamelopardalis.iucnredlist.org
7. Martina, L. (2017)Haliaeetusleucocephalus.animaldiversity.org
8. International Wolf Center (2007). Turkey.wolf.org
9. IUCN (2017).Pantherauncia.iucnredlist.org
10. IUCN (2017).Macropusrufus.iucnredlist.org
11. Eleaid (2017).Elephants in Thailand. eleaid.com
12. IUCN (2017).Hippocamelusbisulcus. iucnredlist.org