Friday, August 19, 2016

How to Tell if a Bear is in the Local Area

When exploring bear habitat on a specialised tour, it's helpful to know how recently a bear has been in the area. Here are some clues to look out for.

If you are going on a specialised bear watching holiday, you may be wondering how may animals you'll see, how you will spot them, and how you will know if they are in the local area. If you're travelling with a reputable company you will have a guide with you who is an expert in the bear habitat and its behaviour, but it may be helpful for you to know just what they're looking out for.

Looking for Clues

The first thing to do is to watch out for giveaway clues as to their presence in the area. Obviously, in prime bear habitat areas there will plenty of tracks to tell you if and when an animal has passed through. The fact that there are any tracks at all alerts you to its presence and the freshness of the tracks can tells you how recently it was there.

Another key indicator of their presence is their 'scat' (droppings). By looking at the scat, you can see what the animal has been eating.

Evidence of Digging

Grizzly Bears are known to dig frequently, and if you come across a dig site you will know that one has been in the area - and perhaps still is. Some diggings can be huge, as they will often dig repeatedly in the same place. If you examine the dirt that has been dug up you will be able to establish how recently they have been there. Checking the plants underneath the excavated dirt to see if they are still alive can help determine the timing of their last visit.

Other Signs

If you are hiking through bear habitat on foot you can also keep an eye out for a gathering of crows or ravens in the sky, as this can signify that there is a carcass close by - and possibly a bear (or two or three) enjoying a good feed. Take note of the smell in the air too, as a new carcass can often reek.

Bear habitat is often riddled with trees that have been bitten, rubbed or scraped by the animals marking their territory. Some mark the same trees repeatedly, but often several different animals will mark a tree. They also climb trees so look out for claw marks in the trunks.

One last important thing to look out for is to consider the trail you're on. Bears, like humans, use the same trails over and over again, so they become very marked. The difference between a bear trail and a human one is that the animal's one will be much lower. If you find yourself navigating a fairly well beaten trail but have to duck down frequentlyBusiness Management Articles, it's a reasonable sign it is one also used by something other than humans!

About the Author

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for a tour to visit bear habitat, Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.

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