Mammalian predators are keystone species in any ecosystem. But many are elusive by nature and have territories that cover large areas of land, which makes them challenging to monitor. When tracks and signs prove difficult to interpret or are non-existent, hair samples recovered from the field offer a fantastic resource – one that is often overlooked.
The Hair Scale Identification Guide to Terrestrial Mammalian Carnivores of Canada provides a fully illustrated, up-to-date hair scale reference for all 25 of the terrestrial carnivorous mammals of Canada. From the tiny least weasel (Mustela nivalis) to the giant polar bear (Ursus maritimus), unique traits – as well as tricky similarities – can clearly be observed through hair scale patterns magnified at the medial portion of the hair impression. These scale patterns aid in species identification when hair is the only possible evidence available.
This guide also outlines hair impression techniques for samples found in the field, assisting ecologists and technicians with wildlife monitoring studies on predatory mammals where additional identification is required. Including range maps and key identification characteristics for all species represented, as well as superb images of hair scale impressions at two magnification levels, this book is a comprehensive tool for animal hair ID.
Introduction and Guide Interpretation
- Materials and Methods
- Hair Scale Reference Key
- Winter White Colour Phases
- Undersides: Colour Differences in Guard Hairs
- Colour Morphs and Regional Variations
Western Spotted Skunk
Northern River Otter
Appendix 1: A Summary of Scale Types
Appendix 2: Patterns and Comparisons
Justin Kestler is a wildlife technician and outdoor educator. He graduated from Sault College’s School of Natural Environment and earned a communications degree from the University of Toronto. He’s been involved in various wildlife monitoring projects and worked as a field technician for Natural Resources Canada, McMaster University and the University of Alberta.
"This handy identification guide to the hairs of carnivores found in Canada will be a valuable reference source for wildlife managers, biologists, and naturalists. The book is attractively presented with beautiful colour images of fur pelts accompanied by microphotographs at two resolutions that spectacularly illustrate the fine hair-scale impressions that will aid in identifying the species of carnivorous mammals."
– Burton K. Lim, Assistant Curator of Mammalogy, Royal Ontario Museum