Lonely Planet Writer

An alternative new poster series depicts the tracks of national animals from 12 countries

Have you ever come across animal tracks while exploring or travelling outdoors around the world, and wondered about the species that made them? Travel company Expedia has taken the national animals of 12 different countries and has illustrated their paw/foot prints against a background that resembles the countries in which they roam. These beautiful travel posters are available to download for free on their page. So now you know what footprints to look for, you’re ready to pack your bags and go wild in search of these iconic animals.

Bald Eagle, USA

These iconic birds use their talons to fish and they get many of their meals by scavenging carrion or stealing the kills of other animals. They can usually be found near water where fish are plentiful. Look out for their snowy-feathered heads and white tails while in the USA.

Bald Eagle, USA. Image: Expedia
Bald Eagle, USA. Image: Expedia

Komodo Dragon, Indonesia

The world’s largest living lizards are found on the tropical islands of central Indonesia. They can grow to 10 feet long and until 1912, the western world thought they were mythological, so prehistoric was their appearance. This is one real life dragon that should be approached with caution in Indonesia.

Komodo Dragon, Indonesia. Image: Expedia
Komodo Dragon, Indonesia. Image: Expedia

North American Beaver, Canada

North America’s largest rodents can usually be found busily searching for food near streams, ponds and lakes. Their webbed feet make them perfectly adapted to life in and around water. They are mostly active at night, so don’t forget your torch and wellies when in Canada.

Beaver, Canada. Image: Expedia
Beaver, Canada. Image: Expedia

Giant Panda, China

These cuddly, but antisocial, national treasures spend most of their time alone eating, resting, or looking for more food. They can usually be found in large bamboo forests on humid and high mountain slopes in China.

Giant Panda, China. Image: Expedia
Giant Panda, China. Image: Expedia

Bengal Tiger, India

These solitary tigers sit proudly at the top of the food chain in the wild in India. Their stripes help them camouflage as they stalk their prey, but don’t worry, despite their fearsome reputation, they usually avoid humans.

Bengal Tiger, India. Image: Expedia
Bengal Tiger, India. Image: Expedia

Kiwi, New Zealand

These unique and curious birds have literally gone pear-shaped. They can’t fly, but they do have an excellent sense of smell, which they use to forage for their diet of worms, grubs, bugs, berries and seeds. Kiwis are typically nocturnal so can usually be spotted rummaging around at night in New Zealand.

Kiwi, New Zealand. Image: Expedia
Kiwi, New Zealand. Image: Expedia

Giraffe, Tanzania

The world’s tallest animals use their patterned coats as camouflage, although, let’s face it, they are pretty hard to miss. They spend most of their day eating, taking their pick of the tender leaves of the high branches that the other animals can’t reach in Tanzania

Giraffe, Tanzania. Image: Expedia
Giraffe, Tanzania. Image: Expedia

Gray Wolf, Turkey

These grizzled wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of seven to eight. They have a complex communication system, so you if you see their tracks in Turkey, you might also hear them howling. They are more active at dawn and dusk, so keep your eyes and ears peeled if you want to spot the pack.

Gray Wolf, Turkey. Image: Expedia
Gray Wolf, Turkey. Image: Expedia

Snow Leopard, Afghanistan

Thick fur patterned with dark spots is the perfect camouflage for the elusive snow leopard. They are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscapes of the Himalayas and notoriously hard to spot. They are most active at dawn and dusk, so look out for them then in Afghanistan.

Snow Leopard, Afghanistan. Image: Expedia
Snow Leopard, Afghanistan. Image: Expedia

Red Kangaroo, Australia

Commonly spotted in deserts and open grasslands in Australia, the world’s largest marsupial can be seen hopping along at high speed on their powerful hind legs. Don’t expect to keep up if you’re on foot though, as a red kangaroo can reach speeds of over 35 miles an hour.

Red Kangaroo, Australia. Image: Expedia
Red Kangaroo, Australia. Image: Expedia

Elephant, Thailand

These gentle giants are the largest land animals in the world. They are intelligent and have memories that span many years. They can usually be spotted in herds due to their deep family bonds, and if you spot these footprints in Thailand, chances are they’re not far away.

Elephant, Thailand. Image: Expedia
Elephant, Thailand. Image: Expedia

Huemul deer, Chile

Huemul deer are the iconic animals of Chile. Notoriously difficult to spot, they favour solitude and usually live either completely alone or in groups of no more than two or three. But our short-legged, stocky friends can sometimes be spotted joyfully leaping through the Andes.

Haemul, China. Image: Expedia
Haemul, China. Image: Expedia