I've found these tracks just a couple of days ago on the Ursa beach near Cabo da Roca, Portugal. I'm not familiar with the fauna of this place and the only possible candidate I've found for now is a Garden Dormouse, but these tracks do seem too big for such a small animal and I'd expect a dormouse to keep close to the trees and bushes, not running between the stones on the shore.

The question is - whose tracks are these?

Exact location of the tracks

Relative size


  • Hi Usurer! I haven't identified those tracks, but a garden dormouse seems unlikely. As you said, they live, eat, breed, hide in woodland areas. Portugal is one of the few remaining active habitats for these sadly disappearing beauties, but I haven't found any evidence that they'd be on the beach. I'm also having trouble finding pictures of their footprints for comparison, so obviously I could be wrong! Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 23:12
  • @Sue Thanks for updating the question with the links. What do you think about these tracks belonging to the mink? (bear-tracker.com/mink.html) The pattern looks similar and, as far as I know, minks like to keep close to the water.
    – Usurer
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


This Cabo da Roca guide offers three options: a badger, an Egyptian mongoose, or a weasel.

Badger is quite big and, according to East Surrey Badger Protection Society, "The front paws of an adult badger range from about 4.5 cm to 6.5 cm across for a large boar". The print is also different - see, for example, here.

As for mongoose - I couldn't find any proper image of Egyptian mongoose footprint but this one. The book "A field guide to the animal tracks of Southern Africa" does have a bunch of other mongoose species' footprints and these are always 4 front fingers and, sometimes, the 5th finger that's located to the side, while footprints in question are more like 3 + 2 pattern.

From pestdetective, this is what weasel tracks look like: Weasel footprint tracks

And a weasel track in a sand dune:

a weasel track in a sand dune

taken from bear-tracker.com

These footprints do seem similar to the ones in question, so I'd suggest that the answer is:

the tracks belong to a weasel or, since it is hard to be sure, to a Mustelidae family member.

  • 1
    What would be helpful is if you could add in a brief translation from that (I couldn't find a bit describing the tracks, only the region) and even adding in an image from somewhere like this pestdetective.org.nz/… as long as you attribute the source
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 12:07
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    @RoryAlsop As you've said, there's no track description in the guide, but the list of animals doesn't leave any other options. It's a good idea anyway - I'll improve the answer with more details.
    – Usurer
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 18:09
  • The tracks pictured in this answer do no seem to match the tracks in the question. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 16:08
  • @JamesJenkins Please check the updated answer - I've added some details and more pictures.
    – Usurer
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 10:54
  • 1
    @JamesJenkins I had an idea of these being a mink footprints (skullsite.co.uk/prints/mink/mink.htm) exactly because mink has these outstanding left and right fingers, but it's hard to find any proof since there's not enough data on American mink population in Portugal and European mink range doesn't include Portugal.
    – Usurer
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 11:44

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