Bear scat

Tim M
Wise Owl
Tim M
Wise Owl
Joined: July 18th, 2012, 9:32 pm

June 20th, 2017, 8:47 pm #1

Bear scat comes in many shapes, sizes and colours.

One rumoured formation that was discussed on the forum years ago was the 'Bear plug'. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a big load of crap deep in the bush in late spring. This scat is made of mostly compacted vegetation and is extremely dense.

The majority of these were tennis ball size, but as you can see from the picture some may be closer to softball size.

Ouch...






Last edited by Tim M on October 19th, 2017, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Peter Smith
Wise Owl
Joined: January 10th, 2011, 5:01 pm

June 27th, 2017, 4:16 pm #2

Good find Tim. A couple of years ago, two of us came across the same type of scat, that we had not previously encountered. The size and quantity certainly got our attention.

Research led us to the hibernation of black bears.

Fecal plug, From Wikipedia,
A fecal plug (occasionally known as a tappen) is a large mass of hardened feces produced by a bear during its winter hibernation. The plug forms in the colon, and consists of a variety of materials ingested by the bear during and immediately before hibernating.[1]

Some of the fecal plug's material is composed of undigested food that was eaten before the bear even entered its den. However, much is formed by cells that slough off the intestinal walls, hair ingested by the bear during grooming sessions, and even bits of plant-based bedding. Bears have been observed licking and chewing on their own footpads during the later months of hibernation, and bits of this dried callused skin has been found in fecal plug material.[2]

Fecal plugs are expelled by the bear upon waking in spring, usually near the entrance to the den.


Further reading led to the common plant Bear Root. Natives had observed black seeking, and eating this plant for energy, just after hibernation. We have all seen this plant many times, and have not paid much attention to it.

I do not see a file attachment button. Just Google Bear Root.
?For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't, no proof is possible.?
― Stuart Chase
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Tim M
Wise Owl
Tim M
Wise Owl
Joined: July 18th, 2012, 9:32 pm

June 28th, 2017, 5:46 pm #3

There is very little information about the "tappen" online and the only pictures that seem to exists are from you and I, Peter. I guess that goes to show how rare these finds are. I wonder why that is.

You'd think the density of this crap would make it last longer in the wild compared to a looser one found before hibernation.

It's also a good reminder of how much calories these animals need on a daily basis.

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