Black Bear Marking Territory–Over and Over and Over

Tracker Kim Cabrera, who has a YouTube channel devoted to animal sightings, strategically positioned a game camera locally where a black bear returned over and over from the 19th through the 29th of March. The video clips capture him “straddle marking” a redwood sapling. The bear has marked the big tree nearby in the past, Cabrera says. “There is evidence on it of scratching and biting.”

However, in this video he’s targeting the sapling. Cabrera says “walking over the little tree lets him drag his belly over it and leave scent.”  He also urinates on it to leave even more scent.

The bear has a sort of swaggering, John Wayne walk which allows him to smack a few other saplings that he bats down like he thinks they’re giving him sass. Cabrera says, “If you also watch him in the background, he is grabbing branches and bending them downward, then letting them go. Sometimes, they break these off.” Cabrera says that these battered specimens are called “whammy trees.” Trackers don’t know exactly why the bears do this but they think it has something to do with marking their trail to communicate with other bears.

You can see Cabrera’s blog about tracking here or visit her YouTube channel here.

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