Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Animal Tracks: What Do They Reveal?

2. A Smithsonian Scientist at Work

This is the spot for a video...

In this video, Ann Henderson describes how she finds and analyzes animal tracks.

Ann Henderson is a conservation biologist from Australia on the staff of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. She studies how peoples’ activities affect animals.

In the following video clip, Ann demonstrates how to collect and identify animal tracks at the Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia.

After watching the video, review the answers you gave on the student worksheet, “Building Background Knowledge,” and discuss with your class any new things you may have learned about animal tracks and what they reveal.

Did any of Ann’s information surprise you? Would you change any of the answers on your worksheet?

On a separate sheet of paper, answer the following additional questions as a class:

  • What did you learn about how scientists use animal tracks in a research project?
  • What tools could you use to conduct an animal track study?
  • What other clues might provide evidence of an animal in the area?
  • How would you use an animal tracks field guide in a research project?

Save these written answers to discuss at the end of your outdoor activity.

Now that you have some basic information about animal tracks and what they reveal, you’re ready to go outside and explore animal tracks in nature.