Black Bear Scat

Black bear scat varies tremendously, given the variation in bear diets. The shape, size, and quantity of scat depends on what the bear is feeding on. Some foods move through a bear's digestive system much faster than others. I once read that it can take grasses about 7 hours to pass through the bear. Other food items may take longer to digest. Some things come through completely whole, such as some kinds of seeds. The photos below show a variety of different types of scats from different diets.

 

Black bear scat. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

A black bear scat found on an abandoned dirt road in the backcountry. It was composed of seeds from a manzanita shrub and other plant matter.

 

Black bear scat deposit location. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

The location where the scat above was deposited. The bear chose the center of the old road as a good placement.

 
Black bear scat of vegetation. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Black bear scat composed of miscellaneous vegetation species. This one shows a good example of the tubular form that bear scats often come in.

 

Black bear scat - apple peels. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Black bear scat composed completely of apples. The peels apparently don't digest well.

 

Black bear scat or poop. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Another black bear scat composed of apples. These scats were all found in the same apple orchard.

 
Black bear scat or droppings. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Black bears love to eat apples and other fruit they find in orchards. This orchard was all apple trees, but you may find plums, pears, peaches or other fruits in bear scats. They eat a very wide variety of foods!

 

Black bear poop from apple diet. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

An older black bear scat composed of apples. This one had broken apart. There is not much holding the apple scats together, so they tend to appear as just a pile of peels.

 

Black bear scat from seeds berries apples. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

A black bear scat with remains of, not only apples, but also various seeds and berries found locally.

 

Black bear scat. Berry and seed diet. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

This scat retained its tubular shape well. It was composed primarily of seeds and berries from various local plants.

 

Black bear scat with fur. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

This black bear scat contained some white and black fur. The fur could have been from a carcass, or from a small animal the bear had killed. Bears can run fast after prey for short distances, but not long distance. Their legs and muscles are built for strength rather than speed. Although the diet of a black bear is 90 percent vegetable matter, they do eat other animals at times. Look closely in scats and you may be able to identify the prey species.

 

Black bear scat. Varied diet. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

This scat contained a variety of foods. There were insect remains and berries.
 
Two Black bear scats in an orchard. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
Two black bear scats deposited right next to each other. These were found in an orchard.
 
Black bear scat. Seeds and berries. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Another black bear scat composed of berries and seeds.

 

Black bear scat with yellowjacket wasp remains. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

This scat contained the remains of yellowjacket wasps. The bears are able to get into the nests and eat the wasps. Apparently, getting stung isn't any problem for a bear! If you look closely, you can see the exoskeletons of several wasps in the scat.

 
Black bear scat with a wasp exoskeleton. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Close-up showing a yellowjacket wasp exoskeleton in a black bear scat. There were many more wasps in this scat.

 
Black bear scat composed of plum pits and blackberries. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

The black bear that deposited this scat had traveled down a dirt road. He then walked off the road to the pond. I found this fresh scat deposited on the edge of the drying-up pond. There were a few plum pits, but this scat was composed mostly of blackberries. Notice the line of purple dye running from the scat and downhill to the right. This is typical of blackberry scats. The juice goes through the digestive tract and leaves a stain under the scat the bear leaves behind. This bear had tracks that were almost 8 inches long. The diet of blackberries is typical of late summer scats.

 
Location of Black bear scat composed of plum pits and blackberries. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

The location of the scat deposit above. The pond normally has a lot more water, but this was a dry year and it was slowly drying up. I have never seen the pond this low before.

 
Black bear scat composed of blackberries. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
Black bear scat composed of blackberry seeds.
 
Black bear scat composed of blackberries. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
Close-up of section of above scat.
 
Bear scat composed of seeds. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
Older black bear scat composed of various seeds.
 
black bear scat composed of grasses and insect parts found in late summer. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera.

The above black bear scat was composed of grasses, other plant material, and insect parts. The bear had been turning over logs to get at grubs, and ripping into old stumps too. It was very late in the summer and the berry crop was gone, but the acorn crop had not yet begun to fall. There were few easy food sources available this time of year.

 
Black bear scat at Ma-Le'l Dunes. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera.

This black bear scat was found at a coastal dune preserve in Northern California. The bear had been eating various species of berries. I also found evidence along the trail that the bear had torn open some logs to eat insect larvae found inside.

 
 
black bear scat sprouting grass

This black bear scat was deposited at the end of summer. At that time, the bear had fed on some grasses. There were noticeable seeds in the scat when I originally found it. Much later, after our first rain, I returned to find that the bear scat had begun to sprout grass plants from those seeds! So, bears do help disperse seeds and plants this way.

 
Other Bear Pages on this site:
Go to the Black Bear Main Page
or Black Bear Scat Page II
Go to the Black Bear Feeding Signs Page
or Black Bear Tracks and Signs Page II

Black Bear Dens and Beds
Black Bear Marking Trees
Black Bear Trails and Stomp Marking
Black Bear Tracking Videos
More Bear Tracking Videos
Black Bear Cub Tracks
 
 
To see black bears in action, marking on trees in their territory and doing other bear things, visit my YouTube channel:

www.youtube.com/beartracker777

The videos on my YouTube channel come from trail cameras I have set up in the woods to show black bears in their natural habitat, doing what they do when no one is watching. Enjoy!
 
 
 
 
For more information about black bears:
Not hosted on this site, but great black bear page
from the North American Bear Center:
Lily the Black Bear
Jewel the Black Bear
Opens in a new window. Follow along as Lily and Jewel raise cubs!
These web cams provide a look inside a wild bear's den, LIVE!
Watch cubs being raised and cared for in real time and learn more
about bears than ever possible before.
Rare glimpses into the lives of wild black bears.
 

 

 

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