Claws, Paws & Pug Marks - Page 1&2: Claws| 3&4: Pug Marks | 5&6: Declawing
The correct name for the paw prints of an animal is 'spoor'. More specifically, the paw prints of a tiger are termed 'pug marks'; this is a Hindu word.
It is relatively easy for an expert to discern the spoor of a felid from that of a canid. The prints of a dog will always show the claws, whereas the prints of a cat normally won't, this being due to their retracted position. The spoor shown below came from a large domestic dog.
There are occasional exceptions to this rule of thumb and the claws of a cat will be in evidence if the animal was at a stretch when the print was made.
An expert can tell many things from studying these, including the approximate age, weight, size, mood and even the sex of the cat (a male tiger leaves pug marks which are squarer and have thicker toes).
At birth the paws of males and females are the same size, but by three months the male has a pad which is about double the size of the female; this difference is maintained throughout life.
Front paws can be identified from rear paws as their forward thrust leaves the imprint slightly distorted. The imprints shown above are from a Sumatran tiger.
Pug marks from a male tiger can also be distinguished from a female. Males have much rounder prints; those of a female are quite misshapen and irregular.
Conservationists record pug marks, as they are unique and so are useful as a form of identification.
There are several ways of copying pug marks:
| Hearing & Ear Spots | Eyesight
| Smell | Teeth
| Communication | Flehman
| Genetics |
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