Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Animal Tracks – What Do They Reveal?


An animal’s tracks may be clues that help us to understand its behavior and other traits. Analysis of tracks may reveal an animal’s habitat and food preferences. By analyzing the tracks of several animals, you might learn how they share limited resources.

In this activity, students practice being a biologist by conducting experiments to investigate wildlife through tracks. Students can use the data they collect to classify animals according to consumer category, create presence/absence species lists, and interpret habitat requirements of wildlife. Mathematical skills practiced include measurement and data analysis to document and explain evidence about the natural world.


Students will:

  1. Use a variety of methods to observe, collect, document, classify, and summarize data on animal tracks.
  2. Use a field guide and related references to identify and interpret wildlife tracks.
  3. Recognize animals that live in the local community.
  4. Analyze data to construct a reasonable explanation for a wild animal’s behavior, traits, and needs.

Let's Get Started

Step 1

Print out all worksheets and datasheets. Each student will likely need a copy.

Step 2

Follow the link below to the first step of the online student lesson.