To write a good animal track illustration, note the line of travel and both the length and width of the track. Note the stride and straddle, as well as the pitch. Determine the true pitch, stride and orientation. If possible, group the track into a clear print or pattern classification. In the rare event of a clear print, note the shape, the direct register of the track and the indirect register.
Before writing an animal track illustration, visualize the line of travel and measure the length and width of all four tracks. Make sure to establish length by measuring toe to toe, as that is the first part of the foot to hit the ground. Measure from the heel of one track to the heel of the next to determine the animal's stride. Measure the straddle by finding the difference between the line traveled by the left heels and the one traveled by the right. The pitch indicates the angle to which the foot moves from the line of travel. Determine the pitch by bisecting the track at its widest point.
Determine the true pitch by subtracting 1/2 the track's width from the overall pitch. Use the pitch, as well as the overall stride, to determine whether the animal was a straight or diagonal walker.
Only 5 percent of tracks are clear prints, meaning all toes are visible. The other 95 percent are patterns that must be estimated from their apparent size and shape. When writing about a clear print, note the overall shape of the track. Look for signs of perfect walking, or direct register, in which the back feet retrace the steps of the front feet. Also observe for indirect register, where the rear foot follows behind the front foot.