Coyote and Crust

by Carl Strang


When I wrote about the skunk walkabouts  of the mating season, I mentioned that their travel is made easier when a crust forms on the snow. That crust is not an all or none factor, however. The following image is the kind of thing one frequently encounters in February.




It looks like Super Coyote came in for a landing, cape a-flapping, after saving the day in Chicago. How else to account for the sudden appearance of the animal’s footprints? If we follow the animal we find that it was not able to maintain a smooth and graceful flow over the snow.




The edges and irregular shapes of its tracks demonstrate the presence of a crust on the surface. The top picture simply reveals where the coyote stepped from an area where the crust could support its weight to an area where it didn’t.


There’s a further aspect of this phenomenon I will share later when I get an opportunity to photograph it (which at the moment appears could be next winter).


1 Comment

  1. February 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    […] was warm and sunny. As mentioned earlier, such days in February typically are followed by cold nights that freeze the partly melted snow […]

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