702: Snow Tracking

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Snow Tracking
I suppose that's more accurately a hare dryer.
Title text: I suppose that's more accurately a hare dryer.


This comic is a guide to recognizing various animals by their footprints. However, the comic typically detours into strange, ridiculous or pop-culture-referencing footprints. In order:

  • The first panel is nothing special. Just a regular cat.
  • "Moose and squirrel" is a reference to the cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky and Bullwinkle were a flying squirrel and a moose, respectively, and were frequently referred to as "moose and squirrel" by the show's antagonist Boris Badenov.
  • Longcat is an internet meme from pictures of cats all stretched out that make them look very tall (or long).
  • "Mouse riding Bicycle" is a reference to Ralph S. Mouse, a series of novels by Beverly Cleary.
  • The hair dryer has melted an irregular region around the rabbit. The title text is a pun on the Rabbit with a hair dryer frame, possibly an homage to Looney Tunes, where shows with Bugs Bunny would often contain a pun on the closely related term of "hare".
  • Legolas is a reference to the character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books and movies. Legolas, as an elf, was so light-footed he could walk on top of snow, while the other races in his party were forced to trudge through it.
  • The "Bobcat on pogo stick" panel is a possible reference to the character Bonkers D. Bobcat from Bonkers (TV series)
  • The "Knight" panel is a chess reference, as the tracks move just like the knight piece in chess.
  • The "kid with..." panels are a reference to Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip written by Bill Watterson. In it, Calvin has a pet tiger named Hobbes, and sometimes, a cardboard box that "transmogrifies" him to something else. In this panel we see tiger prints, meaning that Calvin became a tiger like Hobbes.
  • The same cardboard box is now tipped on its side instead of upside down in the last panel. Now it functions as a duplicator, making multiple copies of whatever is in it. Calvin goes into it, duplicates himself, and they walk and duplicate again, and the cycle repeats.
  • Prius is a reference to current events in which Toyota Prius's pedals have allegedly malfunctioned causing accidents. [1]
  • The Higgs Boson is an elementary particle which, at the time this strip was posted, had not yet been officially discovered (there had been detections at the Tevatron with 4 sigma certainty since the early 2000s). It was tentatively detected in March 2013 in the Large Hadron Collider. The “prints” in the snow in this case humorously resemble the tracks made by elementary particles following a collision of the kind used to search for the Higgs boson in a particle collider.


[Each panel contains an overhead view of tracks through the snow, with a caption indicating the apparent source.]
[Standard paw prints through the snow.]
[Large split-toe tracks and smaller rodent tracks.]
[Cat prints, but with more space between the pairs of prints.]
[Two similar careening tire tracks.]
[Longer tracks, with a large melted ring surrounding a point in the middle of the frame.]
[No visible tracks.]
[Single deep holes with cratering.]
[Round prints that suddenly turn to the right halfway into frame.]
[Human footprints up to a square melting pattern, turning into animal prints.]
[Human footprints up to a rectangular melted area, which are then doubled to another rectangular area, which are then doubled again up to another rectangular area, which are then doubled.]
[Right curve on a road, with tire tracks careening out of frame.]
Out of Frame Garden Owner: MY VEGETABLE GARDEN!
[A series of spiraling and outwardly traveling lines extend from a point in the middle of the frame.]


  • A section of this comic, along with its title text, is used as the image for Alt Text on TV Tropes.

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The title-text could also be a reference to Bugs Bunny, many episodes had such play-on-words as title. ("A witch's tangled hare", "A Feather in his Hare", "Compressed Hare", many more...) -- ‎Gegueure (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It could be mentioned that the Higgs signature shown is probably a Higgs->top anti-top/bottom anti-bottom->jet-jet signature, and most certainly not the clearest observed channel right now of Higgs->gamma gamma (as there is no neutral signature, which would be a track appearing some from the center, and there are clearly two jets to be seen). This is a difficult channel to observe, and is much more important in higher Higgs mass regions than the now observed, where b-bbar is present, but gamma gamma is much easyer to observe. 13:11, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Velociraptors are suspiciously missing from this comic... Just some random derp 19:18, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

I first thought of the Beverly Cleary mouse books too, but Ralph S. Mouse rode a motorcycle, not a bicycle. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Could it be a reference to Biker Mice From Mars? -- 08:05, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

I don't understand the knight tracks. They appear to move the same distance forward as they do to the side. Knights can't move like that.

The knight didn't have much to orientate with, so his mental checkerboard could easily have overspun. 17:31, 7 October 2021 (UTC)

The Knight Tracks panel represents a series of knight hops, rather than a single move. 21:29, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

The Higgs Boson frame is significantly different from all the others because it represents an image from a cloud chamber not tracks in snow. Brenda (talk) 09:15, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Which was is the bicycle going? There is a way to figure it out. Someone help 23:27, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

The Prius isn't a reference to dodgy pedals, but the drivers being horrible themselves. As you can see here, the car VEERS off the road. It does not brake, nor speed up.

Maybe. But one of the issues with the sticking pedals was that the brakes wouldn't slow the car down. I think the timing of this suggests the brake pedal explanation. L-Space Traveler (talk) 09:09, 25 October 2022 (UTC)