1.12.2008

How Pretty

Perhaps I should start a bear scat of the month feature this year...
Seriously, it really was pretty -- full of greenbrier (Smilax sp.)berries. Love those bright red seeds and the dark blue berry skins.
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Plus, there is an added appeal to piles of scat like this. In another section of the swamp I found where a bear had planted an accidental garden, all little greenbrier plants...
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Sometimes you find beautyberry thickets, dense stands of pawpaw, a wild tangle of supplejack vines or loads of baby swamp gums. All courtesy of some intrepid pooping bear :)

12 comments:

Stacie said...

That is bear scat? It just looks like a pile of berries! Prettiest poop I ever saw!

I have never seen any trace of bear in my wood, but a neighbor said there was one in her yard a couple years back. How many bear do you have there? Ever seen one? How close do they come to your house?

I find it great that you love swamps. Our woods are very wet, and sometimes it bums me out. I was attracted to your blog because I said to myself, "Hey, there is someone who finds beauty in the wetlands! I can too."

Thanks for inspiring me!

swamp4me said...

stacie,
It is only one variation of bear scat. If you look back through my blog you'll find other pictures of bear scat that look different.

We have quite a few bear around here and yes, I see them often. One has been right up to my house - I found a paw print on the outside wall.

Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. Sometimes I wonder if my blog really accomplishes what I set out to do -- and then someone like you comes along and reassures me -- thanks for that.

Stacie said...

You're welcome. I will be a regular visitor here. It's a great blog!
Oh, and I usually do not fear wild animals, even the howling coyotes we have around here, but bears, they are a different story. Since I was a kid, I've had dreams about bears attacking me. I don't know exactly why, but they scare me.

Swamp Thing said...

You forgot to mention persimmons! Although it may be a little wet for persimmons where you are (or the deer and turkeys may nab them first).

And remember the value of seed scarrification on germination, especially of woody plants. Without digestion by birds and mammals, a lot of plants would cease to exist.

swamp4me said...

stacie,
You are most welcome to visit any time! And not to worry, I didn't get the impression that you were afraid, just curious.

swamp thing,
I did neglect to mention persimmons - thanks for reminding me! We have loads of persimmon trees in the work swamp and all the little critters love to eat the fruits. Plenty of scarrification going on here!

April said...

Great scat pictures. Our bears are in hibernation. I'm going to have to look up the plants you named. I have never heard of most of them, and they have such interesting names.

swamp4me said...

april,
With the exception of females ready to give birth, our bears don't do much hibernating most years. There is generally food available year round.
Here are the scientific names of the plants I listed. Common names can be misleading...
beautyberry - Callicarpa americana
supplejack - Berchemia scandens
swamp gum - Nyssa biflora
persimmon - Diospyros virginiana

Rurality said...

Hey, I'm just glad there's someone who posts more scat pictures than me! :) Really I'm about to get a complex -- my sister inlaw claims I'm fixated on animal poop. To me it's an important clue as to what has passed that way.

swamp4me said...

rurality,
Scat is just so compelling! Shows you where the critter has been and, if you are like me and poke around in the pile, you can find out what it has been eating. Sort of one-stop shopping ;)

nina said...

Like Stacie, I've a bear fear, too. Has some close encounters as a child, I remember them (too) well. Now I walk looking over my shoulder so often if we're in a bear area, that it almost isn't worth hiking!
I have a can of bear spray from a few years ago--my souvenir of a trip to Grizzly country.

Swamp Thing said...

I always find it sad that folks have had bad experiences with bears. I've been in woods with bears in NY, NJ, MD, WV, VA, and NC. In almost all those times (maybe 20 or 30?) I only saw the bear because it was running full tilt in the opposite direction.

But I understand your fear - we were on the AT in northern NJ and we had three bears (mama and cubs) walking parallel to us (in the scrub, about 200 feet to our left) at dusk for about 2 miles. They eventually got bored or spooked and wandered off. It was getting weird because I knew we would eventually have to stop and set up camp, with or without the bears!

swamp4me said...

nina,
I've never had a bad experience with a bear. Our bears are pretty shy and usually take off when they see us. But that doesn't mean that I don't have a healthy respect for their strength.
Now, if I lived in grizzly country, I would tend to look over my shoulder a lot more - grizzlies are predators, and I understand that I could be mistaken for prey.

swamp thing,
So often bad bear experiences are the result of bears having been fed by humans at some point. They lose their fear and come to associate people with a food source. I spend a great deal of time trying to get people to understand that we need to keep wild animals wild. That means not leaving our food out for them and not treating them like pets.