Yosemite National Park Rangers are making quite the call to hikers: keep your gaze down and be on the lookout for bear poop! But this is no mere gross-out challenge – it’s a way to uncover crucial insights into the park’s wildlife.
In a recent social media update, the Rangers dived into how a bear’s dining habits can leave a trail of evidence in its droppings, and these habits evolve over the seasons. Summertime? That’s when these bears scarf down treats like fruits, seeds, and even bones, which don’t break down completely, resulting in larger, more fluid deposits.
But come fall, it’s like the bears enter a food frenzy – a phase aptly named hyperphagia. They munch down a jaw-dropping 20,000 calories daily, building up those essential fats to endure hibernation. To put it into perspective, that’s gobbling up about 11 pounds of acorns or a mind-boggling 100 pounds of berries each day.
“Hey, if you spot any bear scat, don’t just step over it. Uncover the story it’s trying to tell!” The rallying cry from Yosemite’s Rangers encourages hikers to give a thorough once-over to these animal signs.
The North American Bear Center (NABC) adds more insight: if the bears have been nibbling on nuts, fruits, acorns, or greens, their scat won’t make you scrunch up your nose. Fresh piles of bear business? That’s like nature’s way of saying, “Guess who was here recently?”
Looking for more clues? Keep an eye out for their distinct five-toed footprints, especially visible on softer terrain. But these gentle giants don’t stop there – they also leave their marks by giving trees a gentle rub or a not-so-subtle claw-and-bite combo, especially during the love season.
“The marks they make are like tattoos on trees. The bites? Well, they’re like Morse code messages,” explains the NABC. “Look for near-horizontal marks, like a dot and a dash, where their upper and lower teeth meet.”
So, next time you’re wandering the breathtaking landscapes of Yosemite, remember, there’s more to be found than just awe-inspiring views. Bears are leaving their “business cards,” and by paying attention, you’re unlocking nature’s fascinating secrets.