What do squirrel tracks in snow look like: identification & pictures

squirrel sitting on dry leaves
A squirrel track features four paws. They have four toes on their front paw and five on their back paws. The front feet of squirrels are smaller than the hind feet.

What does a squirrel print look like?

The tracks from a squirrel will appear in groups of four since squirrels do not single track as some mammals do. Two paws have four toes, and the other two have five.

This difference in amounts of toes among the feet helps distinguish their tracks from other animal tracks. Their hind feet will have a large pad visible at the heel of the paw. Their toes are narrow, and the claws on each foot will register with the paw print. 

If a squirrel is hopping or scampering, as they often do, its rear feet will fall in front of its front feet. This will result in the front track being their hind foot. When squirrels are bounding, their tracks can be spaced around two to three feet apart. 

On a firm surface, squirrel tracks may appear as a scatter of small dots. Tracks left on softer surfaces such as sand, mud, and fresh snow will show the entirety of each paw.

Their tracks look similar to small human handprints. The track pattern of a squirrel may be in a straight line or a zig-zag, depending on its direction.

How big is a squirrel track?

The size of a squirrel footprint depends on which paw is in question and which type of squirrel made the track. The size of squirrel paws might appear smaller if their pads did not register. The length of their stride will depend on the gait of the squirrel when it leaves the track.

If an eastern gray squirrel made the tracks, the front paws are about an inch and a half long and one-quarter inch wide. Their hind paws can be up to two inches long and about half an inch wide. The stride of a gray squirrel can be nine to thirty inches. 

Red squirrels are smaller than eastern gray squirrels. Their front feet are about one inch long and half an inch wide. Their back feet are about half an inch to an inch long and wide. A red squirrel’s stride can be about six to twenty inches. 

Flying squirrels are even smaller than both gray and red squirrels. Their front feet are about half an inch long and one-third wide. Their back feet are about one inch long and one-third inch wide. Their stride is similar to that of a gray squirrel, measuring anywhere between nine and thirty inches. 

squirrel tracks in snow

What is the difference between rabbit and squirrel tracks?

Squirrel and rabbit tracks are around the same size, but the set of tracks left by squirrels are symmetrical, while the placement of the front feet of rabbits is offset from each other. Rabbits have small, round toes, while squirrels have long and narrow toes.

While claws are evident in squirrel tracks, claw marks from rabbits are not usually visible. Rabbits have fur on their toes, so unlike squirrels, each toe usually isn’t visible in the track.

The gait of a rabbit is a hop that results in the smaller front feet in a line behind the larger hind feet, which are side by side. Squirrel tracks are wider and blockier than rabbit tracks. Rabbit tracks form a thin and tall rectangular shape. 

Another way to determine if a squirrel or a rabbit made the tracks is to follow them. If the tracks end at the bottom of a tree, they were likely made by a tree squirrel. If you identify holes in the ground near the tracks, the tracks may have been made by a ground squirrel. 

squirrel tracks in snow on a wood deck

What to do if you identify squirrel tracks in your yard?

If you identify squirrel tracks in your yard, keep in mind that squirrels are not dangerous or aggressive creatures, but they can cause damage to your yard and home. Squirrels bury their food to eat later, so they may dig holes in your yard.

Squirrels can cause significant damage to gardens by digging up flower bulbs to eat them. Squirrels also enjoy chewing on wood. They could chew on your trees, bushes, and wooden structures like patios. This chewing can cause structural damage and eventually ruin the item they are munching on.

In preparation for winter, squirrels will seek warmth and shelter. They may find adequate living space in your attic, chimney, shed, pipes, or more. This can also cause structural damage, and the squirrels may become aggressive since they are territorial creatures.

To protect your garden, you can purchase cages made to go around flower bulbs to keep rodents from eating them. Squirrels and other critters dislike daffodils, so planting this flower serves as a natural repellent. 

squirrel perched on wood

How to keep squirrels out of your yard and property

You can purchase squirrel or rodent repellent spray and apply it to areas where you have seen squirrel activity. This spray will need to be reapplied as its effectiveness will wear away with weathering.

Another repellent that can be purchased and applied to the perimeter of your property is predator urine. The smell of predators such as wolves will deter squirrels

Squirrel baffles can be placed on bird feeders and on trees. These can stop squirrels from eating your bird seed and from climbing your trees. Squirrel baffles will make your yard less appealing to squirrels and may result in them going away.

Trapping squirrels is another way to get rid of them. Live trapping squirrels and relocating them is a humane way to eliminate your squirrel problem. If you are not comfortable trapping animals or think you have an infestation, contact a professional wildlife center.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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