How to Identify Bear Poop

Explore America's Campgrounds

How to Identify Bear Poop. If you are camping or hiking, you may want to know if there are bears in the area. There are many signs to look for, but the droppings, or "poop," they leave behind can tell a lot about what they've been doing. Learning to identify scat can help keep you a safe distance away from the local bears.

Step 1

Forget about spending a lot of time trying to differentiate between the droppings of black and grizzly bears. Both are very much alike and sometimes require closer examination in a lab to identify which kind it is. Look for the remains of roots or tubers in the poop. Since a black bear doesn't have the claws necessary to dig them up, it's most likely a grizzly if they are present.

Step 2

Evaluate the seasonal diet of the bear. Normally, the bear is a vegetarian and has mostly grass or roots in his feces. However, sometimes you'll find some with wood debris, ants or pine cones. During the late summer months, it may be runny, a blackish-red color and have visible seeds. The bears are fattening up for the winter and consume large amounts of berries, if they are available.

Step 3

Determine how fresh the droppings are so you'll know whether you should leave the area. If it's fresh, it won't have many insects embedded in it, and the grass underneath will be green rather than yellow.

Step 4

Look for indications that bears are living and sleeping in the area. The feces will be concentrated in one area and may have garbage remains in it.

Step 5

Check the poop for evidence that the bears have been feeding on meat. They are very confrontational at this time, and it's best to leave the area. It will usually be black and loose with visible animal hair. Meat remains have a foul odor and vegetation is less likely to smell bad.

Gone Outdoors