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Spotters' guide

Author: Rekel
Version: 2009

Table of contents


This whole document is written with two thoughts:
  1. Get and keep the spotting quality at a high level.
  2. Make sure both the suiters and the spotters have fun.
A lot of things are general since there are a lot of factors which result in a different approach, by understanding the basic idea (of spotting and how to handle) a spotter will be able to do what needs to be done. This just covers the basic idea, some locations have specific hazards and some suiters have specific needs. With new experiences and additional remarks the "Spotter Directions & F.A.Q." will be updated. Or if you have suggestions please give me a poke. And of course the spotters and suiters who added comments for improvements: Dizzle, Maruno, Murderwolf, Sithy

Differences between groups during a furwalk

There can be distinguished three groups during an average furwalk: Suiter, Spotter/Handler and Socialiser.


No suiters, no furwalk. They have several limitations with the most important one: Vision. Depending on the suit it ranges from extreme bad to moderately bad. A spotter is a second pair of eyes for the suiter.


Depending on the arrangements and location a spotter follows/assists one particular suiter or keeps an eye open in general. And warns for hazards and deals with hazards.


This is a group that should not be taken in account while planning, they do not have the intention to spot but to hang out with friends this is not a problem unless this keeps the spotters from spotting. Socialisers should not be granted free entrance to parks, since they are not necessary to get the event on the rails.

Main things a spotter should do

They must not be compromised in such extend that accidents could happen.

Steer the suiter away of high risk hazards.

Hazards that have a high change or cannot be judged must be avoided at all time. A few examples (for more see the "Hazards"-section):
  • Dogs that growl or bark (they might feel threatened due of the size of the dog and might bite).
  • Large groups of drunk people or acting tough.
  • Things the tail (or just the fur) might get stunk in (like machinery).

Warn the suiter for potential hazards.

Hazards that can result in injury or damage must be pointed out to the suiter since because of their reduced vision they might not notice. A few examples (for more see the "Hazards"-section):
  • Children running towards the spotter (especially small children might not be noticed).
  • Steps, branches, kerbs, doorsteps and other things a suiter might trip over.
  • Water, sometimes a channel might be invisible for the suiter.

Remove and keep away annoying children.

Children that kick, pull, stomp, etcetera should be removed. However do not overreact when it is just lifting up the tail a bit to stroke (at first it might look the same as tail pulling).

Carry water or sports drink with you for the suiter(s).

And make sure it is ample for the situation: suiters do sweat a lot. Take extra with you if there is little wind or/and high temperatures. But do note that it the responsibility of the suiter to provide you with his water.

Have a slight idea... to remove the head and unzip/unbutton the suit in case a suiter does pass out due of the heat or other sudden things. Since it is difficult to explain how this happens and it varies between suits, just ask and look how a fursuiter does it.

Not losing his/her suiter out of your view.

Do not get distracted to long by other things, since a suiter is depend on your view. Some suiters might feel the urge to run in a different away then the group is going.

Additional things a spotter can do

Besides the main things a spotter can do there are a few things that are appreciated if a spotter is able to do these things however they must never compromise the primary tasks.

Video or photo registration

Give memories of a furwalk a more permanent addition in the form of photos or videos. Before uploading pictures to a frequently visited websites by outsiders (other people then the ones that visited the event: like Furaffinity, deviantart) make sure that people who do not wear a fursuit do not mind being on those photos. Especially when you add their names.

Give Feedback

Relatively new suiters might find it handy if you give them feedback on how they act. Just ask if they are interested in this.

What the heck is this?

Have an answer ready to explain what the suiting is all about, but try avoid the word "furry" since a Google search has a significant chance on bad results. The basic thing to say that it is a hobby for the suiters and they like to entertain people.

Spotter equipment

Basic equipment

  1. Mobile phone with numbers of at least one other spotter who is at the same furwalk (and preferable at least one of the organisers).

Extra equipment

Not necessary but might come in handy.
  • Camera (video or photo), just for memories (but do remember that spotting is your primary "job").
  • First aid kit.
  • Needle and thread for emergency repairs.
  • Water or sports drink (plus straws) for suiters.
  • Wipes, to remove dirt of fursuits.

First time spotting

Do not call yourself a spotter yet if you have no experience in spotting for people in suits with limited view (like cosplay-suits and fursuits) since planners of a furwalk depend heavily on the ratio spotters:suiters. Walk with a more experienced spotter (preferable one with more than 5 walks) so you can see how spotting is done. But do not walk only with one spotter but also walk with several others, every spotter does it a little bit different, some prefer a more handsome approach while others might prefer to use their voice. Talk with a fursuiter about spotting. Ask feedback about what he/she thought about your spotting.


Hazards can be divided in three section: human, animal, non-living.


  • Children, these range from nice/shy (just want a hug) to annoying/irritating (kicking, etc.). Approach varies from how they act towards the suiter.
    • Clinging children might be troublesome when the suiter wants to move ahead, most of the time they just want a hug.
    • Tail pulling, kicking children only has one solution: Immediate removal if other kids see nothing is done against the offenders they will join the offender.
    • Tail lifting and stroking children, might look like tail pulling at first sight but most of the time he/she does not have the tail clamped and the tail simply glides through their hands.
    • Large group of dense packed children are best avoided (difficult to see what happens).
  • Drunk people, unable to determine what they think (there are reports of a fursuiter being hit on the muzzle).
  • Hang youth, they might feel the urge to prove themselves.
  • People with cigarettes, heat and suits do not go together.


Animals can never (and with never I really mean never) be predicted. However some indicators can be interpreted as an indicator to steer clear of them.
  • Growling dogs: They are suddenly confronted with a huge animal, they might want to protect their owner if they feel threatened and might bite.
Playfull biting and jumping but not all dogs do it playfull. Playfull biting and jumping but not all dogs do it playfull.


  • Bridges, small bridges might not be noticed and the suiter might walk towards the wrong side of the railing.
  • Channels, if the sides of a channel are made with the same stones as the streets it might look like that the street does not end.
  • Doorways (steps and height of entrance). Tripping over doorsteps and hitting the head/ears against the top bar of a doorframe.
  • Elevators, tails either get stuck or hold open the elevator. Enter the elevator after the suiter(s).
  • Escalators. Moving and non-moving parts, ask the suiter what he prefers: you in front and help him with the exit step; you after him keeping his tail free.
  • Stairways, reduced vision in combination with bigger feetpaws will give some problems. Depending on the suiter more or less feedback while moving is required.
  • Stages: reduced vision, a little bit too enthusiastic, a little bit too far towards the edge, you can guess what happens. If your suiter is on a stage make sure before he is on, you and he made clear what is the signal for being too close to the edge.
  • Fire and heat sources: Steer clear of these at all time. Almost any fursuit is made of flammable or meltable fibres. Heat will simply ruin the plastic fibres of the faux fur, melting them together to a big plastic plaque. And even more important hot plastic will give serious burns, most likely second-degree or worse, since the plastic will keep burning into the skin.
  • Machinery, depending on the nature of the machine it might either rip of or tear apart the fur/tail.
  • Other dangers are also present and should be recognized by the spotter when they appear.

How do you guide a suiter?

This depends from suiter to suiter. A general dividing can be made in suiters with near zero vision straight ahead and bad ~ average vision. However it depends on the individual suiters and the environment how much and what kind of assistance he/she wants. Some suiters have bad vision but have a lot of experience and are able to go around without a lot of guidance while others have good vision but have other problems: ASK and observe them and the environment to meet their specific requirements.

Warn a suiter

This all depends on prior arrangements but in case none are made a good technique is the following:
  • Say his/her (suit) name. If he/she react point out the hazard.
  • No response: Try again and step closer to suiter. If he/she reacts point out the hazard.
  • Still no response: place a hand on shoulder to get the attention and point out the hazard.
Depending on the hazard it might be required to step in.

Suiters with near zero vision straight ahead.

Depending on the suiter he/she may prefer one of these methods (many other methods are possible):
  • Give an arm.
  • Make another suiter with better view give an arm.
  • Place a hand on a shoulder.
  • Make arrangements what signal to give in case of a hazard. Words, hand (not always handy since suiters might not look to you), whistle.

Suiters with bad ~ average vision.

Depending on the suiter he/she may prefer one of these methods (many other methods are possible):
  • Give a hand on stairs.
  • Make arrangements what signal to give in case of a hazard. Words, hand (not always handy since suiters might not look to you), whistle.

Communication with a suiter

  • Hand signals, simple ones like drinking (suiter makes move of drinking a can) or time out (making a T) and difficult ones in a Charades fashion (Dutch: Hints).
  • Hold your ear as close as possible towards the suiter his real mouth (works better if you are a little smaller then the suiter so you don't collide with the head). With a little practice the suiter can only be heard by you.

Suiters with good vision... not exist! They all have less vision then you.
Your vision.Garrodor's visionDizzle's vision The view with one blink of a single eye: You, Garrodor, Dizzle.

Spotting styles

These styles only apply to groups and only reflect basic ideas and exact execution depends on organiser (individual styles depend on how to warn a certain suiter).


Small "enclosed" area with good overview, spotters do not walk after a certain (group of) suiter(s). Spotters and socialisers are more of the same level. Suiters remain within a specific area like a market or a field.


Keep an eye out for trouble, if a certain area has a more risky hazard make sure a spotter is near this hazard. If children surround a spotter get closer and in case of trouble take actions.

I lost my suiter

You do not follow a particular suiter except if he/she requested for a personal spotter (in case of bad vision for example). Just walk around and ask if spotters or suiters saw the suiter.


One spotter on one particular suiter. Completely arranged and no space to swap, the spotter is responsible for what happens to the suiter at all time. Preferable at busy places.


Your assigned to one suiter and will spend most of your time keeping an eye out for him/her, however you also keep an eye on other suiters to see if they do not experience problems that her/his spotter cannot solve alone or that his/her spotter shows he/she is incapable of proper spotting.

I lost my suiter

This should not happen since your main task was spotting for him/her. depending on the area where you suit talk/call to other spotters if they saw your suiter. If you are still unable to locate your suiter contact the organiser(s) and tell them when you saw them the last time. Further actions depend on area.

Few spotters on a significant larger group

This asks for good spotters and suiters who are not fully depend on spotters and an area with not too many children.


Leader and sweeper are two roles that must be filled. The leader guides the suiters, while the sweeper collects the suiters that stay behind. It is preferred to have more than one sweeper since leaving one behind without any support is out of the question and you might miss one suiter.

I lost a suiter

Two options: Move back with the whole group or hold the group together while a spotter goes back.

City Centre

Larger chance on trouble makers so a larger spotter group is preferred and at least one on one.


It is preferred to have one spotter assigned to each suiter and have the others as back-up (or switching).

I lost a suiter

Ask the other spotters. If you cannot locate him contact the organiser. Further actions depend on him (possible actions include: Move back with the whole group or hold the group together while one or more spotters walk back (check alleys).)


The suiter I follow is boring and barely moves can I leave him alone?

NO! Even considering this is almost a fail. This categories of suiters are either near complete blind or also beginners. It might be better to consider if you want to apply for spotting the next furwalk.

I lost my fursuiter?

This is to be honest one of the most stupid things that can happen in general. Since it all depends on the spotting style of the whole group: see "Spotting styles"

I am spotting for two fursuits at the same time but one stays behind all the time, what to do?

Instruct the faster suiter to stay behind the other suiter. Or make them more interact with each other so they have a clue where the other is.

A (small group of) fursuiter(s) choose(s) an alternate path, should I follow him or note him that the others go in a different direction?

This depends on prior arrangements (Does the group wants to stay together? Is there a certain destination?). However you might want to inform the suiter/group about the different direction but in all cases follow the suiter/group. It might be a good idea to inform the organiser(s) that they take a different route and you follow them.

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