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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:33 pm 
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OK, so here is the mystery. Yesterday I find some Bear scat as seen in picture #001. A closer look in picture #002 shows some of the contents. Picture #003 shows what was found inside the scat. Pictures #004 & # 005 are examples of what Bear claws look like.

I took the scat home and soaked it then with gloves on I pulled apart the entire scat. What I found inside the scat was Black Bear hair, 7 smaller claws and one larger claw from a Bear cub. I also found about 2" x 3" of whitish translucent curled skin of what I took to be heel pad. It had a bumpy texture to it like that of what would be found on the heel pad of an animal. There were also 3-4 tiny bits of tubular bone that I also took to be parts of toe bones. There were no other bones inside the scat at all. Are the digestive juices inside a Bear so powerful that it can digest the hide of an animal but yet not the heel pad? Why were no other bones found inside the scat?

I'm asking this question to all of you in hopes that with your personal or professional training and experiences. That you may be able to shed light on this so I can retell the the story accurately in the future. It's such a rare find to document and I want to get my facts straight. Any help in this would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:06 am 
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The scatt only produced those claws and small bones because that is all the animal ate.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:42 pm 
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You'd almost have to assume the scat is from a male bear that killed and ate the cub. But, those tapered ends aren't anything like I've ever seen on bear scat here in the northeast -- those look more like canid scat. Perhaps your wolves killed and ate a cub or ate a cub that had died some other way. The skin on the soles of feet is quite different than the skin on the rest of the body, ticker and tougher (check your own heels), and might go through the digestive system relatively intact. I've seen all kinds of weird stuff come out reasonably intact in droppings, keep an eye on what comes out of your dog sometimes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:56 pm 
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Woody Meristem wrote:
You'd almost have to assume the scat is from a male bear that killed and ate the cub. But, those tapered ends aren't anything like I've ever seen on bear scat here in the northeast -- those look more like canid scat. Perhaps your wolves killed and ate a cub or ate a cub that had died some other way. The skin on the soles of feet is quite different than the skin on the rest of the body, ticker and tougher (check your own heels), and might go through the digestive system relatively intact. I've seen all kinds of weird stuff come out reasonably intact in droppings, keep an eye on what comes out of your dog sometimes.


Thanks Woody, I know why you would think that as I thought the very same thing too at first. I guess that finding any scat chock full of Bear hair is extremely rare for most people out in the field, novice and professionals alike. Maybe the complete digestion of animal hide by predators is normal and especially for the iron gut stomachs of Bears. I guess the most important question I have is can Bears completely digest the hide of animals? Hopefully Chris will chime in with his two bits worth.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:51 am 
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Very interesting. Agree that some critter committed "cubacide" or maybe just scavenged a cub, but as Woody notes, bear scats are usually more rounded, and dog (and cat) scat more tapered. Neither species completely digests everything, I know my dog doesn't completely digest those rawhide :"chewy bones". That's a very cool find, and you've inspired me to get off my butt and go pull a cam.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:11 am 
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More on the subject..............
I agree that the scat looks very deceiving and it can be difficult in identifying the host species. Despite being very familiar with Wolf, Cougar and Bear scat, it confused me as well at first glance. My first thought was that it was maybe Cougar scat but then I took a much closer look at all the details. The shear volume of the scat led me to think that it may be from a Bear. Bigger the host, bigger the scat. I have not recalled seeing that much scat come from either a Cougar or a Wolf. I think that the real deception lies in the fact that finding scat chock full of Bear hair is so darn rare and who could disagree. We are just not use to seeing such a thing that it baffles us, all of us. All predators will have scat with tapered ends when hair of an animal is consumed. It's only natural because of the diet of the predator and of the way it is compressed off by the anus upon completion. In fact, it's the hair that wraps around the bone fragments and allows it to pass safely through the colon without puncturing the colon walls. Whether it be from Wolf, Cougar or Bear, tapered ends will be evident in all of their scat. Which oddly enough, seems to contradict common understanding I find. For which I'll never understand. We are use to seeing tapered ends in Wolf and Cougar scat because they are pure carnivores and it far more common to come across. Deer hair is shorter and coarser which produces a different looking taper. Bear hair is much longer and finer which produces a longer and finer tipped tapered end. A point worth mentioning I thought.

Both Wolf and Cougar scat will always have a strong anal gland musk smell to it but Bear I have found does not. Over the past 10 years I have come to learn that my dog will always and without exception. Stop, smell and then urinate atop Cougar scratch piles as well with other members of both the cat and dog families, domestic and wild alike. She has never urinated atop Bear scat and shows no interest in. With the Bear scat I found, she showed zero interest in it and it didn't even warrant a sniff. All 3 species can produce scat that can look very similar under the right conditions. The variations of scat composition, shape and volume also varies greatly amongst each species too. Much like tracking an animal. It's not always so much in what the shape of the track looks like. The gait, track pattern, and location of the tracks often plays more of a role in determining what species made it. With scat it's not always the shape but the smell, composition, location, volume and even the age that plays a critical role in identification I find.

Anyhow, as much as I do respect and value your opinions on the animal responsible. You can only base your opinions on a few 1 dimensional pictures which makes identification very difficult I know. The only way for me to help offset that disadvantage to you is to give you more details in what I found. I found that it was the lack of smell, shear volume and tapered ends aside. It was the shape of the segments and how they were compressed that leads me to believe that it came from a Bear.

Here are some examples of Bear scat with tapered ends for you to ponder over. Take note, the more hair content equals more tapered ends. Even fibrous indigestible vegetation such as dried course grass can produce tapered ends.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:41 am 
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You are right that bear poop holds little interest for other preds, including dogs. And I am glad I am NOT the only one who practices the three steps of scat identification -- visual, sniff, and taste :rofll That old joke from natural history classes never dies -- and BTW, a friend of mine snapped a pic of me giving the sniff test to a pile of bear dung at a field station near SF. A year later I found out he had made a power point presentation about this field station, and included photos of the "three scat ID tests" with yours truly as the subject -- in the last photo I look like I forgot to use my napkin -- a beautiful job of photo-shopping, I should add. Whenever I remind him of this he laughs hysterically.

Thanks for your observations, Gary. Sounds like you have mastered the subject matter.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:42 pm 
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cameratrapcodger wrote:
You are right that bear poop holds little interest for other preds, including dogs. And I am glad I am NOT the only one who practices the three steps of scat identification -- visual, sniff, and taste :rofll That old joke from natural history classes never dies -- and BTW, a friend of mine snapped a pic of me giving the sniff test to a pile of bear dung at a field station near SF. A year later I found out he had made a power point presentation about this field station, and included photos of the "three scat ID tests" with yours truly as the subject -- in the last photo I look like I forgot to use my napkin -- a beautiful job of photo-shopping, I should add. Whenever I remind him of this he laughs hysterically.

Thanks for your observations, Gary. Sounds like you have mastered the subject matter.

You paint a vivid picture Chris, so is that where the term brown noser came from :)
Speaking of willing participants, I asked a friend of mine if he could identify the scat on the trail in front of us. Being the jokester that he is, he obliged. I didn't tell him that I was going to take his picture though.

PS. I'm by no means a full fledged scatatoligist Chris but I am rather anal :rofll


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:40 am 
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