Bear Talk: Biting, Scratching and Urine Involved
Certain trees serve as bulletin boards for bears. Ursines communicate with other bears by biting, clawing and rubbing on a favorite trunk. Kim Cabrera, a local tracker with a YouTube channel of animal videos, put a game camera filming the above tree and captured this bear checking out his old haunts.
Kim Cabrera explained, “This black bear was the first one to visit the old marking tree this season.” This tree, that had been used last year, fell over in January. Cabrera pointed out the bear in the video is still trying to use the tree to communicate with other bears. “Watch as this bear tries to rub its back on the tree, even though it is leaning,” she said.
Cabrera wrote, “Black bears stomp their feet and sort of grind them into the ground as they approach their mark trees. This leaves scent from glands on the feet. The lives of wild animals are all about scents and communication. They use scent to communicate in many ways.”
She noted that the bear also “straddle marks” the small oak sapling. (For more on straddle marking see an earlier post from Cabrera.) She explained, “They will sometimes dribble urine on the saplings when they do this. It is a way of leaving scent for other bears to find.”