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Close up of squirrel eating nut in brown area

Nature Challenge: Mammal Mania

Get up close with mammals with these fun outdoor activities.

Create your own footprint trap

Steps

  1. Fill a baking tray with sand and use a ruler to smooth the surface.
  2. Check that the trap works by lightly pressing your finger into the sand – it should leave an indent. If it does, smooth over the sand again.
  3. Place a dish with pet food in the middle of the tray and leave the tray in the garden overnight.
  4. Check the tray in the morning for animal footprints.

Mini-challenge

Use a footprint ID guide app called iTrack Wildlife to find out who has been using your garden.

Who has been here?

Next time you take a walk in the park, look out for mammal footprints. See some examples below.

 

What other things do mammals leave behind?

See if you can spot some droppings (poo) or fur (hair), flattened plants or marks on trees.

Can you figure out the patterns of movement and activities of mammals based on their tracks and other signs?

Mini-challenge

Make your own footprints in the mud and create a mystery trail for your family to follow. Where are you going to lead them?

How about recreating the traces of a prehistoric beast? Draw inspiration from our collection of fossils that are millions of years old!

Spot these mammals at the Animal Walk

 

Become a mammal ethnographer

Can you observe these behaviours on your favourite mammal(s) at the Animal Walk or your local park?

Moving

Does it run, climb or walk? (fly or swim?)

Eating

What does it eat? Where does it find its food? Does it use its feet?

Drinking

How often does it drink water?

Resting or Sleeping

Where does it choose to sleep?

Why?

Playing

Grooming (self or others)

Vocalizing

What sounds does it make?

Can you identify any of its calls?

Scent marking (leaving its odour in specific places to mark its territory or to attract a mate)