Black Bear and Bobcat

Scent Marking a Tree

Ursus americanus and Lynx rufus


Two species mark scent on a small tree.



Black Bear and Bobcat Scent Marking a Tree

The tree seen in this video is used by a black bear as a territorial marking post. However, other animals also visit this location. Some of them even use the tree as their scent post as well.

Bobcats are well-known for their behavior of spraying scent on objects throughout their territory. Some researchers have documented bobcats making over a dozen scent marks per mile. Bobcats use their urine to create these scent posts. Glands located near the anus also provide scent that is used in these activities. Each individual has a different scent.

Most animals communicate with each other in ways other than vocalizations. Scent is the primary means of communication among wild mammals. Many of them cover quite large territories, so they cannot be nearby at all times, but their scent marks can. So, the creation and maintenance of scent marking posts occupies quite a bit of time for some animals, particularly those who are more territorial and actively defend their territories.

 There are different degrees of territorialism among mammals. Some tolerate the presence of others quite well and get along in groups; others are intolerant of the presence of others of their species and actively defend their territories against intruders. The function of scent marking is not completely understood, but biologists are constantly learning more about this fascinating aspect of the lives of wild mammals.

In this video, you will see a black bear maintaining its marking tree by rubbing its back and shoulders on the trunk. The next day, a bobcat comes along and quickly deposits urine at the base of the tree by squirting it backward. Interestingly, the bobcat does this so quickly, that it doesn't even appear to break stride to do it. You may have to watch the video a second time, or rewind it, to catch the bobcat's quick action!


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

For more tracking videos, go back to the Black Bear Tracking Videos page



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Copyright 2012. Text, photos, videos, and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera - Desert Moon Design

Page updated: January 27, 2016

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