Saturday, September 25, 2010

Animal Tracking: Black Bear Scat?

While me and JuJu the donkey were on one of our walks I came upon this scat (poop) in the gravel road. I knew right away it was not raccoon scat, bird scat, or deer scat because of the shape...
it had some round berries in it and didn't look hairy so I felt perplexed as to whether it might be coyote scat either.
Fox? A bit of black bear poop? Opossum?
Following scat descriptions, I know that canine's have poop that gets pointy on the ends and bobcats have a tubular shape too - deer and rabbit poop comes out in pellets (rabbit's having a more dry, flat, & separated look, deer being a bigger wet pile of pellets), wild turkey scat looks like a big bird poop with the white mixed in. Raccoon's look like alot of lil' cylinder tubes of poop, and opossums are kinda like a coyote poop that has bumps strung together....
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This left me with one choice... a choice I smelled about 50 feet down the road....
A Black BEAR!
Further down the way I smelled a strong odor, one that was like skunky urine. I immediately knew it was a bear, I assume from some deep biological part of my brain that carries primitive instincts cause I have not seen a bear urinate & then sniffed it after. It's something you just know when it blows into your nose. A bear smells like no other animal and it's generally skunky stinky dread locked dirty pungent aroma can't be missed.
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Now I realize, the bear has been hanging all around my cabin, this poop with these berries in it are everywhere in the woods.
XOxoxo

8 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

I shared my land with a bear this summer. It felt good to know such a strong presence was near. My post, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," has a comment by Kristy at Koda's Totems, which relates the significance of the bear as a totem. You might fine her comments interesting.

Cosmic said...

Interesting indeed, Leslie! It reminded me of the time my hubby came back from the NT in Australia(he spent time with an Aboriginal elder friend near Darwin living under native traditional ways:). His new *odour reflected this(contrast to the typically-western unwashed body odour); you could tell he spend time out in the wilderness. * even after frequent showers the unique scent lingered for days. The funny thing was he failed to notice the significance of this but with my acute sense of smell(I tend to notice ie smell spirits:0) I can sniff out anything!

x

Stephanie Rogers said...

I need to get better about identifying scat - I know I've found wild turkey & opossum & rabbit in the immediate area around my cabin. But I do think I have *smelled* bear. Some friends of mine noted the bear pee smell when we were on a hike and at the time I thought, how the eff do you know it's bear pee? But then I smelled it in the woods next to my cabin and just *knew*.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Teresa!
Did you get to see your bear or just find signs of it?
Can you share a link to the post?
I love animals, and I love thinking about totems too- I have the "Animal Speaks" book which was given to me by my Aunt as a gift.... i have referenced to it often! Now i have to go look up the black bear. :)))

Cosmic -
I totally know what you mean about the woods imparting a scent on people. It's just like people livingin the city have a certain parculiar smell to me - and when I leave the woods and go somewhere else, and pull thing out of my backpack I can smell the woods & cedar smells & i swear a weird oxygen type smell too.
Sometimes I wonder what my clothing smells like since i dont use detergent- i wonder if i smell good like the woods or like an old crayon. ha!

Stephanie...
I love trying to identify tracks and scat. I totally want to order this thingy::
http://www.acornnaturalists.com/ANIMAL-SCAT-KEYCHAIN-IDENTIFICATION-GUIDE-P2877C272.aspx
Cause it has so many types of poop on it, it would make refrencing easier. I was thinking if i could find enough scat to take pics of here, i could do a western north carolina scat & track guide! It's a long term goal. ;)

Funny about the bear smell. It really has to be implanted in our DNA to know that smell.

kirk said...

I have black bears on my place--they eat the apples and hawthorn berries and leave big piles of seed laden bear pies--the thick fur they have makes them impervious to the thorns. I have one that sleeps on his day bed back in my swamp--when i stick my nose down on his forest bed I can smell him. I followed one several years ago in spring as he ate the shoots of horsetail--he smelled me and disappeared with hardly a noise as he moved through the forest. I have his big brother and sister grizzly around too but have never seen him.

kirk said...

If you want to have extra strength to split the wood eat hawthorn berries--It will make your heart strong--I eat them fresh in late summer and tincture them in brandy so I can use the rest of the year. My herbal mentor used to feed them to salmon she found dying on the side of the river banks and she would hold the fish in the water--feed the hawthorn berries and the salmon would recover strength and swim away.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Kirk!
That is cool to know about the hawthorn berries, i will have to find some.
I am glad we only have the nicer bears around here... NO grizzley!

Amazing how such a large animal can be so quiet. :) I am always looking for bear tracks too, I would love to get some clear pictures of some.

kirk said...

+they like to leave claw tracks on alder trees-I think they do it kind of like a cat scatching a post--part for fun and part to say this is my turf--also if you look real close on downed logs you can see a faint claw mark or two when they rip the rotten log apart for grubs. they love to flip rocks in my woods too for bugs-4 years ago i had one chew up my plastic gas can--i think he was giving me his vote on renewable energy.