Even on an optimal surface, only about one third of all footprints are complete. The webbing is only visible in the rarest of cases. The width of the footprints varies so much, depending on the ground and gait of the animal, that it cannot be used to determine sex. Depending on the its gait, the otter leaves different footprints, up to 20 different variations are known. Only rarely one finds complete footprints.  Always use a scale when photographing footprints. Do not use a scale that is not reproducible and always photograph the track directly from above. Complete footprints require an optimal surface (mud or thin, damp snow or slightly thawed ice). 


Otter tracks are the defined by a slightly slanted row of four footprints. The search for tracks can be made easier by looking in areas with mud or damp sand.


When there are many otter tracks in the same area, individual footprints may overlap. Otters can also make scratch marks on fresh sand.




The fox track is more oval with fine claw marks. 

Dog tracks can occur naturally in many different sizes.

The footprints of other animal species found near the water usually differ significantly from those of the otter. Otter tracks measure at least 5cm in length, so there is no possibility of confusion.

Fox tracks resembles dog tracks. Their front paws are noticeably symmetrical. While the dog and fox tracks are characterized by a high symmetry, no symmetry can be found in the otter tracks. In comparison to the otter,  fox and dog tracks only have four toes and are therefore easy to distinguish from the otter.


                                   Fuchs                   Großer Hund                   Fischotter

Raccoon tracks is are similar to that of the otter’s. Therefore, you should easily be able to identify them. However, the raccoon’s  long toeprints are more like fingerprints.

The footprints of the Mink are very similar in shape to those of the otters. They, however,   measure approximately 4-5 cm length and, therefore, substantially smaller than otter tracks.

Cat tracks are relatively round, with four toes and no claws.

The footprint of the tanuki resembles that of the fox. However, their toes are clearly more spread and the footprint is overall rounder.

The track of a polecat is similar to that of a beech and pine marten, but smaller and more delicate.




Footprints of other martens like pine marten or mink are clearly smaller and more graceful than those of the Otters.

The Nutria leaves a track with "long fingers" similarly to the raccoon, the track of the tail is also frequently formed.


The footprint of the muskrat is similar to that of the nutria, but much smaller.

The footprints of the badger have unmistakably long, strong and extended claw impressions