Make an animal footprint trap

Lots of animals might be using your garden without you even realising it – they might be small and quick, in places you can’t see, or coming out at night. To find out who’s been visiting your garden, try a bit of detective work by making this simple footprint trap.

What you will need:

  • An old baking tray
  • Long ruler
  • Fine grain sand
  • Water
  • A low sided dish
  • Meat based cat or dog food
  • Footprint ID guide (optional)

How to make your footprint trap:

  1. Fill the baking tray with sand and use the ruler to smooth the surface.
  2. Check that the trap works by lightly pressing your finger into the sand – it should leave an indent. If it does, smooth over the sand again.
  3. Place a dish with pet food in the middle of the tray and leave the tray in the garden overnight.
  4. Check the tray in the morning for animal footprints.
  5. Use a footprint ID guide or the pictures on the sheet linked to this activity to help identify who has been using your garden!


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Time to complete

30 minutes

Suitable for age

Suitable location

Resource Level

Curriculum linked

Sciences (Biology; ecology; natural history; planet earth topic)



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