Rangers at Yosemite National Park are encouraging visitors to turn their gazes downward, not just for trail safety but to observe and analyze bear scat. They believe these droppings can offer valuable insights into the area’s wildlife.
- Related: National Park Service Recommends You “Do Not Push Down Your Slower Friend to Save Yourself From a Bear”
In a recent Facebook post, the park emphasized the relationship between a bear’s diet and its feces, explaining that during the summer, bears feast on fibrous foods like fruits, seeds, and even bones. These dietary choices lead to distinct changes in their droppings. As autumn approaches, bears enter hyperphagia, voraciously consuming food to amass crucial fat reserves for hibernation.
🐻Poop Post incoming!🐻
When you are out and about in Yosemite, you might come across funny-shaped lumps on the ground. What you are seeing might happen to be bear droppings! Bear scat comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors and varies in shape, from tubular, to loose or watery, depending on what has been available for the bear to eat. As the seasons change, so does a bear’s diet, as does the appearance of their scat. As we are well into the summer season, bear scat will be looser and in large piles, and things that can’t be digested in the bear’s stomach – like seeds, fruit pieces, and bones – can be seen in what they leave behind (pun intended). What food do you think bears were eating to leave these behind?
💩To prepare for hibernation, bears need to eat 20,000 calories a day! That’s about:
11 pounds of acorns
100 pounds of berries
93 candy bars
🐻 In the wild, black bears eat acorns, berries, and bugs. When visiting Yosemite, make sure our bears are only eating food that belongs in their natural diet by not feeding them anything, approaching them, or leaving food out where it is unattended. Please keep food within arm’s reach during the day and while picnicking, and store food and scented items in bear-resistant canisters at night, whether camping in the front country or backpacking in the wilderness. And if you see any bear scat, try to figure out what that poo is telling you!
– Yosemite National Park