by Matthew Cobb
More cryptozoology. These two pictures were posted by a friend, Dr Fiona Crawford, who visited the English Lake District (home of Beatrix Potter) last weekend. She labelled them “tracks of unknown animal”. The first one looks like a human hand print, but the second shows a set of prints, clearly not made by human hand.
So what made them? NB There are no bears left in the Lakes, and the biggest mammals are ungulates. Mind you, it is hard to tell what the scale is. They seem to be smaller than a human hand. Could it be a pine marten? The small size would tend to exclude the possibility that someone was wearing boots with pawprints on them – in WW2 British Special Operations Executive agents in the Far East wore boots with soles with a human footprint on them, but reversed, so anyone tracking them in the jungle would think a) they were a “native” and b) they were going the other way…
UPDATE (8 April 2010):
After over 20 contributions (including from Fiona, who took the photos), I think we can be pretty confident it’s a badger print. Here’s a useful guide to prints of British mammals (when I was a lad we had these on the soles of our shoes – nothing to do with the SOE shenanigans mentioned at the beginning of this post).
The large pad kind of gives it away, no? And here are some badger prints:
On the other hand, the claws on the Lakeland Yeti’s prints seem to be much more spread out… Is the mystery really solved?