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Black Bears Communicating

6-21-17 black bear by Alfred 2017-05-24 15.35.19Black Bear males are not shy about making their availability and intentions known to the opposite sex. Their most prevalent means of communicating this information is to leave their scent on trees (as well as other structures, such as telephone poles– see photo) by scratching them with their claws, biting them and rubbing on them with their shoulders, back and neck. Often they will use the same marking tree year after year, with signs accumulating on the tree.

Both males and females mark trees year-round, but at this time of year, at the peak of their mating season, males are especially active markers, in order to convey their social identity, reproductive status and location to female passersby. One might consider such marking trees as ancient “scratch.com” mating sites. If you find one, be sure to look for stray hairs that have been inadvertently left behind. (photo by Alfred Balch)

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4 responses

  1. Kirsten Lewis

    I’d like to make a donation but don’t see any yellow box to click???

    June 22, 2017 at 8:25 am

    • How odd. There should be a yellow box with “donate” in it just below the white “sign me up” box on the right, if you go to the Naturally Curious blog page. Please let me know if it still isn’t there! Many thanks.

      June 22, 2017 at 10:56 am

  2. I think I recognize that “tree.” :o)

    June 22, 2017 at 9:33 am

  3. Jo Peavey

    Just on the shed door. It left claw marks. Nothing like a grizzly bear but I wouldn’t want to arm wrestle with it!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    June 22, 2017 at 12:53 pm

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