What left these bloody footprints in my barn?

The horse is the only one walking backwards, too. All the others are walking (or doing handstands) towards the top of the page, so would this give someone the impression that the fronts of horse feet are the open end of the U?

I’m feeling “raccoon dragging something of avian origin” vibes for some reason. Or maybe a barn owl with a large rodent. I cannot explain my supporting evidence for either theory, though. :joy:

Okay, y’all are gonna think I’ve completely lost my mind, but: I needed a distraction after putting my mom’s dear old doggy to sleep today, so I took our coonhound down to the barn for a little forensic experiment. He weighs around 70 lbs, is 23 inches tall at the withers, and also has a 23-inch “wheelbase” when standing square. I dabbed some water on just one paw pad at a time, and at a brisk walk his stride length is virtually the same as the mystery beast. The toes were visible in almost every print though, even with me being very careful not to touch them with the wet towel. So, mixed results. Here are some photos of course (dog prints circled in green; I walked him in the same direction I thought the prints went, though if the pad theory is correct they may actually be going the other way). Thank you for joining me in this diversion!


Any chance he is the mystery beast? Does he have a scab on one pad of his paw?

I still think that a bleeding scrape will present differently than water touched on the paw. It’s coming from inside and blotting on the floor, so the floor staunches the bleeding every stride and it doesn’t spread.

Now, obviously, if it was a bigger/deeper cut, there would be more blood smeared around each print, and even droplets in between. (Been there, done that, mopped the entire house 3x…)

PS I’m sorry about your mom’s dog! Hugs.

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@S1969 thank you! He was 15 and not doing well but it’s still hard. He was really my dad’s dog and we lost him to cancer 7 years ago around this time so it feels like losing the last living piece of my father, you know?

Oh yeah, I agree my experiment wasn’t the same as an actual cut, but it was the best I could do. I’m not THAT obsessed! :rofl: The tracks couldn’t be our hound because he is not allowed off leash and spends his evenings cuddling with his humans in the house. (We don’t call him a redbone couchhound for nothing!) If I see the neighbors’ aggressive mastiff with a bandaged paw though….

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Oh man, I am so sorry. Thinking of you and your mom today. :frowning:

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Only one paw is cut. Hence the illusion of a long stride. Likely coyote. Only part of the paw involved. Could be a cut a touch higher up on yje leg just Dripping down, like on yhe outside.

Yep, I realize only that is only one cut paw. Otherwise that would be a pretty big creature!

I’ve settled on the coyote (hopefully not dog) theory as well, despite the lack of toe prints. Though it’s odd/annoying that anything that large and distinct wasn’t captured by the doorbell camera. :shrug:

I don’t suppose you have alligators in your area?

A juvenile with a cut foot maybe? Low enough to not trigger your camera?

Egad, I hope not! I’m in Maryland so that would be quite a phenomenon! :smile:


Alligators are strange and go places you wouldn’t expect, but probably very slim chances in MD!

Much rather have a coyote prob than a gator prob!

Maybe the Loch Moy gator is paying you a visit. :laughing:


Too funny, @Gardenhorse, I had the same thought when @lenapesadie said, “alligator”! Hopefully that is the closest gator to me and it stays over there!