I took a stroll down in our pasture with the kiddos last week. Gabe has been working on digging a pond down there, although with the advent of school, that project has puttered to a stop. There are a few puddles, however, that seem to attract a lot of attention already. We saw raccoon tracks, deer tracks, and even little kid tracks in the soft mud. Imagine that! Then I saw another set, huge and unfamiliar around here.
After Gabe and I concluded that it was a bear, we started looking at images of tracks online. Whoa. Bears have five toes, and this track only had four. What has four toes? I thought maybe a humongous dog, like one descended from the Hound of the Baskervilles, but my man scoffed at that idea. He said mountain lions have four toes. My blood chilled. I can get excited about the occasional berry-satiated bear ambling through, looking for a drink, but panthers? Those horrible things that scream bloody murder and drop silently out of tree tops onto unsuspecting victims below? No Way! I have some fear issues stemming from reading too many Reader’s Digest Drama in Real Life stories, no doubt. I, who have never shot anything, would shoot a panther on sight.
After a night haunted with weird dreams about crazy critters, I took photos of the track and did some comparison checking. No way is that anything but a bear’s front foot, with one toe either amputated or maybe crooked upward in pain from that thorn he stepped on. Or something like that. What do you think?
We made a casting with plaster of paris, which I must say, is the coolest thing we have done yet this school year.