Tracking the Tracker
Characters: Harry Hare, Sally Squirrel, Fiona Fawn, Ollie Otter, Peter Porcupine.
Props: Hopper Pattern, Bounder Pattern, Waddler Pattern, Walker Pattern, Hare Pattern (2X).
Harry Hare (hopping back and forth)Oh boy! Snow on the ground. What fun! (hold up Hopper Pattern) Oh, look! Some tracks. Four prints together, then a space, then four more together. Maybe I can find a clue about who made these. Hmm…they go right to a tree. I know! These are squirrel tracks!
Sally Squirrel You’re a good track detective, Harry! Those are my tracks.
Hare You must be a hopper like me.
Squirrel Yup. I push off with my front feet, my back feet swing forward and land ahead of them. I can even hop right up a tree trunk. Bet you can’t catch me! (exits; track pattern down)
Hare Now that’s a hare-brained idea! Sally’s right, though. I am a good track detective…(hold up Straight-Walker Pattern) and here are some tracks to sniff out. They’re all in a straight line, and all the same size. These are Straight-Walker tracks! They cross the clearing, go into the woods, and (gasp) wait a minute. I know who makes a single line of prints – fox and coyote and bobcats! Oh my! This is one set of tracks I better not trail!!
Fiona Fawn Harry Hare! You scared me!
Hare Fiona Fawn? Phew! I forgot that deer are straight-walkers too. A lot of predators make a single line of prints like yours. I’m afraid my curiosity got the better of me.
Fawn You know, Harry, they say curiosity killed the cat.
Hare Well, it nearly snared a hare! I’m glad it was just you, Fiona.
Fawn And I’m glad it was you, Harry. Now I’m going to hoof it to the deer yard to join my herd. Bye, Harry. Safe tracking! (exits; track pattern down)
Hare Bye, Fiona. Now I’d better backtrack right home. (hold up Waddler pattern) But wait, look at these tracks. There’s a big print right next to a little print, then a little print by a big one. They alternate. Big, little, little, big. An important clue! I just don’t know what it means.
Peter Porcupine Hi, Harry Hare. Are you following me?
Hare Oh, so it’s you, Peter Porcupine! I was just looking at your tracks. Your prints are very close together.
Porcupine True. With my short legs and chunky body I can’t take very big steps. I move my feet one at a time. My big back feet land next to my smaller front feet as I shift my weight and sway from side to side.
Hare So you’re a waddler. But what’ll you do when the snow gets deep?
Porcupine You mean waddle I do! (chuckles) Why, I’ll just waddle along, same as ever, making a nice deep path in the snow. Makes it easy to get around in winter – following my own trail.
Hare That’s fine if you’re not in a hurry.
Porcupine Not much reason to hurry if you’re a porcupine. I’ve got a prickly surprise for anyone who tries to “tail” me.
Hare I guess so! But I don’t have quills so I have lots of reasons to hurry. Good thing I’m a super hopper.
Porcupine Well, hop to it then! Bye Harry. (exits; track pattern down)
Hare Bye, Peter. (hold up Bounder Pattern) Oh, look. Here are some more tracks. Two prints, then a space, then two more prints. These tracks keep going right down to the brook. And it looks like someone went sliding here. Uh oh, I’m sliding too! Heeelp!
Ollie Otter Hello, Harry. If you slide on your belly instead of your back, you can slip right into the water.
Hare Well, I don’t want to slip or slide! I was just nosing out your tracks and I fell.
Otter Oops! So, what about my tracks?
Hare Well, you’ve got four feet just like me. So how come your tracks show only two prints at a time?
Otter Because I’m a bounder, like mink and weasel. With my long body and short legs, I can stretch out, then arch over like a slinky. My back feet land right where my front feet did, so I only leave two prints in the snow instead of four. You otter try it!
Hare Oh, that wouldn’t work for a roly-poly hare like me!
Otter No, I guess not. Well, nice talking to you, but I have to get back to fishing. I’m otterly famished! (exits; track pattern down)
Hare I’m hungry, too, and I shouldn’t be out here in the open. I’d better go home. (hold up hare tracks) Wait, what are these tracks? Two small feet and two VERY BIG FEET.
Squirrel Hi, Harry. Still tracking?
Hare You bet! Check out these big footprints. (walk above tracks towards squirrel)
Squirrel Gee, they’re awfully big. I don’t think we should follow those bigfoot tracks!
Hare (walks back) Just looking for clues. (put up 2nd set of hare tracks) Yikes! Now there are two sets, side by side! There must be two of them!
Squirrel Two Bigfoots?! Harry, I’m scared!
Hare Me, too! We’d better hide! Follow me! (squirrel hops behind hare)
Squirrel Hey, wait a minute, Harry. Your back feet are very big.
Hare Yup, I’m a snowshoe hare. My big back feet help me travel on top of the snow.
Squirrel Could these big-footed hopper tracks are yours, Harry?
Hare Huh? Gee, I guess they could. Guess I’m not much of a track detective after all.
Squirrel I don’t know about that. You’re a fine tracker. I’m just glad it’s not Bigfoot, or we’d be in big trouble. Bye, Harry. (exits)
Hare Bye, Sally. Guess it’s time for me to stop playing detective and make tracks for home!