12 national animals and their iconic footprints

animal tracks
© Expedia

From Indonesia's Komodo dragon to the gray wolves of Turkey, learn how to identify the footprints of some of the world's most remarkable animals.

We have a love for old travel posters, ones advertizing everything from the splendors of exotic locations to the natural wonders closer to home; it comes as little surprise that the graphic format has had a bit of a resurgence. (The ones by artist Hannah Rothstein that we wrote about in "Artist’s brilliant National Park posters advertise a grim future" are espacially brilliant.)

The latest to travel into our inbox were created by, fittingly enough, the travel company Expedia. They add a fun twist by luring visitors to faraway climes with a lesson in national animals and wildlife tracking – with a few facts on the creatures themselves, as well. I'm not sure if seeing the paw print of a giant panda on a poster is enough to inspire the purchase of plane tickets to China, but it is pretty cute – and now you know what a panda paw print looks like! It's also interesting to learn what the various national animals of different countries are.

China: Giant Panda

animal tracks© Expedia This cuddly but antisocial national treasure spends most of its time alone eating, resting, or looking for more food. They can usually be found in large bamboo forests on humid and high mountain slopes.

Turkey: Gray Wolf

animal tracks© Expedia These grizzled wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of seven to eight. They have a complex communication system, so you if you spot their tracks you might also hear them howling. They are more active at dawn and dusk, so keep your eyes and ears peeled if you want to join the pack.

India: Bengal Tiger

animal tracks© Expedia These solitary tigers sit proudly at the top of the food chain in the wild. Their stripes help them camouflage as they stalk their prey, but don’t worry, despite their fearsome reputation, they usually avoid humans.

Afghanistan: Snow Leopard

animal tracks© Expedia Their thick fur patterned with dark spots is the perfect camouflage for the elusive snow leopard. They are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscapes of the Himalayas and notoriously hard to spot. They are most active at dawn and dusk, so keep your eyes peeled.

Indonesia: Komodo Dragon

animal tracks© Expedia The world’s largest living lizards are found on the tropical islands of central Indonesia. They can grow to 10 feet long and until 1912, the western world thought they were mythological, so prehistoric was their appearance.

New Zealand: Kiwi

animal tracks© Expedia This unique and curious bird has literally gone pear-shaped. They can’t fly, but they do have an excellent sense of smell, which they use to forage for their diet of worms, grubs, bugs, berries and seeds.

Australia: Red Kangaroo

animal tracks© Expedia Commonly spotted in deserts and open grasslands, the world’s largest marsupial can be seen hopping along at high speed on their powerful hind legs. Don’t expect to keep up if you’re on foot though, a red kangaroo can reach speeds of over 35 miles an hour.

Chile: Huemul

animal tracks© Expedia The huemul deer is the iconic animal of Chile. Notoriously difficult to spot, they favour solitude and usually live either completely alone or in groups of no more than two or three. But our short-legged, stocky friend can sometimes be spotted joyfully leaping through the Andes.

Tanzania: Giraffe

animal tracks© Expedia The world’s tallest animal uses its patterned coats as camouflage, although, let’s face it, they are pretty hard to miss. They spend most of their day eating, taking their pick of the tender leaves of the high branches that the other animals can’t reach.

Thailand: Elephant

animal tracks© Expedia These gentle giants are the largest land animals in the world. They are intelligent and have memories that span many years. They can usually be spotted in herds due to their deep family bonds and if you spot this footprint, chances are they’re not far away

USA: Bald Eagle

animal tracks© Expedia These iconic birds use their talons to fish and they get many of their meals by scavenging carrion or stealing the kills of other animals. They can usually be found near water where fish are plentiful. Look out for their snowy-feathered heads and white tails.

Canada: North American Beaver

animal tracks© Expedia North America’s largest rodent can usually be found busily searching for food near streams, ponds and lakes. Its webbed feet make it perfectly adapted to life in and around water.

Tags: Animals | Nature

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