Arizona Game and Fish Department: Focus Wild Arizona - CSI: Critter Scene Investigation

Even though wildlife can be found in all habitats, we don’t often see the animals. So, how do we know they are there? The answer: signs.

Animals often leave behind signs that they have been active. These can include chewed leaves, burrows, and scat. An important sign is tracks or footprints. People have always used these tracks and other signs to locate prey and to study animal movement and behavior. Even as technology advances, traditional tracking still plays an important role in wildlife management.

In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to analyze various wildlife scenes to determine what happened. They will not have the luxury of seeing any animals. They must review the signs, primarily tracks, that are left behind to determine what happened. They will become Critter Scene Investigators.

The lesson is available as a downloadable PDF that includes ideas to extend and modify the lesson for different audiences.

Science Topics
Middle School, Educator
7th Grade
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