Author Topic: Things I've gotten wrong for years  (Read 342 times)


  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Things I've gotten wrong for years
« on: February 07, 2021, 08:45:44 pm »
On the Orientation of Hares

I've just realised that for years, I've mis-read the direction of hare-prints.

In this picture, taken today on Clachanben, you can see typical hare-prints.
Two delicate fore-paw prints, one behind the other.
Then a pair of larger prints from the hind legs, side-by-side in a wide stance.  This pattern repeats every couple of feet.

I'd always assumed these prints would have been heading towards the camera, the hind legs following behind the forepaws.
Prints somewhat like a dog sitting.

But no. These prints are from a hare bounding away from the camera.  I saw them being made; for we were herding them up the mountain.

What's happening is that the hare makes a bound, and lands forepaws first, leaving the two smaller fore-and-aft prints.
Then the tail end follows, as it must if the hare were to remain whole.
The hind legs overtake the forepaws in mid-flight, and land *ahead* of the forepaws, leaving the larger wide-stanced prints.
Rinse and repeat.
Like a dog running.

Close inspection of prints in firm snow also show the claws which confirms the orientation of the beast.

Every day a school day!

Hare tracks on Clachnaben by Ron Lowe, on Flickr


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Re: Things I've gotten wrong for years
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2021, 08:50:20 pm »
That’s a nice picture.
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Re: Things I've gotten wrong for years
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2021, 09:17:00 pm »
Whereas I'd have assumed the hare was heading away from the camera just from the shape of the paw prints, without any great understanding of its motion.

Anyway, it's got to be at least ten years since I last saw snow like that.  :(
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.