Not a big cat but a dog or fox

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HAVING studied the photographs of ‘Big cat’ paw prints (Citizen December 8) I feel obliged to disagree with your identification of them as belonging to a cat of any sort, big or small.

I understand that “Dog leaves prints in garden” isn’t as exciting, but that is more accurate, based on the photos. Having lived as a child in Assam, (where leopards visited our garden leaving tracks) and having spent many years tracking and photographing wildlife, I am confident in assuring you that these prints belong to a dog or a large fox.

Despite the grainy reproduction, the pads and toes are in the characteristic configuration of a dog’s print, complete with one dog’s round-tipped claw imprint above the front-left toe. Rather than the dog’s two toes together in front, with two toes wider apart behind on either side of the pad which is in your picture.

A cat print of any kind has the toes arranged in more of a semi-circle. With the exception of the cheetah, which does not retract its claws, all other cats normally walk with claws retracted.

MARCH READER