Foot Pads on the Menu - UPDATE March 11, 2021

Spanky working on his footpadsSpanky working on his footpads

Shortly before 3 PM today, we captured a 10:11-minute video of Spanky nibbling at the foot pad on his right front paw In the last minute of the video, Spanky hits pay dirt. He latches onto a bit of the foot pad and pulls. Suddenly, it pulls free, followed by chewing on what he pulled off his foot. In the spring, one of the things we will look for in his feces will be  sections of his foot pads—as we have found in the feces of other bears in dens. When I wrote up what I had seen, I could find no references to it in modern scientific literature. The only references available regarding my ‘discovery’ were in the very old literature on Native American observations of black bears. They had already seen it all. Mink GuitarMink GuitarClick on the highlighted title for ‘the rest of the story’ as Paul Harvey used to say: Rogers, L. L. 1974. Shedding of foot pads by black bears during denning. Journal of Mammalogy 55(3):672-674.

Out the window, the mink named Guitar stopped by and was good to raise his head and say “It’s me” by showing me his Guitar-shaped chin patch.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center