You can learn a lot about bears by examining their scat and Yosemite National Park is encouraging visitors to take a closer look. In recent social media post the park detailed the seasonal differences in bear scat, how much they eat in preparation for hibernation and the importance of bears maintaining a natural diet:

“If you see any bear scat, try to figure out what that poo is telling you!”

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK:

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

9 pizzas

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!