Animal Tracks and Signs: Over 400 Animals from Big Cats to Backyard Birds

Overview

When the wilderness calls—or even just the back yard—young nature lovers need a helpful guide to set them on the right track.

Now kids can learn about their favorite animals—from cheetahs to snakes—in a whole new way: from the signs they leave behind. What does a row of tracks signify? What can we tell from an accumulation of twigs left behind in the crook of a tree? What are those squiggly marks in the sand? Animal Tracks and Signs gives young...

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Overview

When the wilderness calls—or even just the back yard—young nature lovers need a helpful guide to set them on the right track.

Now kids can learn about their favorite animals—from cheetahs to snakes—in a whole new way: from the signs they leave behind. What does a row of tracks signify? What can we tell from an accumulation of twigs left behind in the crook of a tree? What are those squiggly marks in the sand? Animal Tracks and Signs gives young readers the knowledge and expertise to interpret these mysteries.

This beautifully illustrated volume is a species-by-species guide to the clues left behind by over 400 animals on planet Earth. The inviting text helps readers identify what to look for when tracking animals (or imagining tracking them) in the wild or in the back yard: tracks and footprints; feeding signs; droppings and pellets; animal dens, nests, and hiding places; and other specific signs of animal behavior. The author also shares expert advice on how to observe animals in the wild anywhere in the world. Life-size illustrations of footprints (and droppings!) bring the wild alive on the page. Stunning wildlife photography and clear diagrams make this a visually powerful book sure to capture the imagination of every young reader.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ed Goldberg
This attractive book describes the tracks (paw prints, bird claw prints, slimy trails) and signs (molted skin, food remains, scat, tree markings) that animals leave in their wake. Within each of the four sections - Mammals, Amphibians, Birds, and Insects - categories of animals such as small cats are described in facing pages. A typical two-page layout includes a photo and short paragraph about the animal category, three or four colored boxes containing a photo or drawing of a specific animal (serval, bobcat), and a description of its size, geographic range, habitat, food, tracks and signs, and comments. Also included is a miscellaneous box providing information on such things as home building habits or latrine signs. Superimposed over each animal description is a drawing of a life sized or scaled paw print. Layouts also include general photos of an animal's scat, food, habitat, and more. Interspersed in each section are informational pages describing feathers, feeding signs, and herbivore scats. This book is quite limited in scope and will generally appeal to those teens interested in the subject. The beautiful photos vary from action (birds soaring) to informational (birds? nests, animal scat). The language is simple and readable; however, information about the animals is minimal. It is an atypical teen who will actually track a polar bear or hyena, so it is not of practical use. The format is repetitive, and the glossary, although useful, could be more comprehensive. The volume is an easy-to-read, picturesque introduction to the subject. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
This gorgeous guide to animal tracks and other indicators of their presence runs the gamut. Starting off with an introduction to gait patterns, methods of tracking and instructions on recording tracks, the book preps readers before thrusting them into the wild. From common animals like skunks and spiders to more curious civets and caimans, Johnson then covers the major animal groups, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects and other invertebrates. Each animal is profiled, including its size, range, habitat, tracks, scat and other pertinent information. Additional boxes provide special tips on "reading" a dog by the position of its tail, identifying types of feathers and nests, and efforts animals make to mark their territories. Most helpful, however, are the true-to-size silhouettes that bedeck each page, giving readers a place to return once they have made their castes or sketches. Johnson provides a list of further resources, an index, and a glossary for those with even more questions. Readers can even test their knowledge with a track quiz. Beginner biologists, science teachers and families who live close to nature will find regular use for this comprehensive volume. All school and public libraries will also want to track down a copy or two. Reviewer: Kristy Lyn Sutorius
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426302534
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jinny Johnson has written numerous books on natural history for children on topics ranging from dinosaurs and insects to rain forests and deserts. She has a lifelong passion for wildlife and is a fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

John A. Burton founded the World Land Trust to protect and save endangered habitats for wildlife. He is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and Vice President of the Bat Conservation Trust. He has written many books on natural history, specializing in field guides.

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