The FWC approved a panther position paper at its September 2015 Commission meeting to provide strategic direction to staff moving forward with panther management and conservation efforts. Florida panther conservation has reached major milestones and is an impressive success story. This position paper reaffirms the FWC’s commitment to work with partners to conserve and protect panthers.
Panther Sign: Tracks
Notice how the paw print compares in size to the ruler beside it.
The typical panther track is the imprint of four unclawed toes around a 3-lobed "heel pad". (Technically speaking, panthers are digitigrade walkers, meaning they walk on their toes and the actual heel does not touch the ground. Humans and bears are examples of plantigrade walkers. Their entire foot, including the heel, does touch the ground. However, for ease of understanding we’ll refer to the largest or metacarpal pad as the heel pad). The front feet are slightly wider than the hind feet, and tracks of the male are larger than those of the female. The heel pad of the front feet of male tracks are 5-6 cm (2.0-2.4 in) wide and female heel pad tracks are 4-5 cm (1.6-2.0 in) wide. Male kittens older than 6 months may have feet as large as and even larger than adult females. At a walk the hind feet are often placed in the tracks of the forefeet.
Here are some more Florida panther track photos. These were created by a male panther.