Growing up in suburban California, there's something a bit unreal about large land animals like bears and cougars. Even coyotes, foxes and bobcats.
I think David Darlington captured the weirdness perfectly in his book In Condor Country:
"For those of us raised away from the wilderness - in places populated solely by domesticated animals, with untamed ones glimpsed only in books or on television - there's something miraculous about seeing them in the wild. The first time I saw a bear in the woods, I couldn't believe there was something so big that nobody owned, fed, or kept on a leash."
And, while cam traps aren't a substitute for direct observation, I get a similar feeling of awe and wonder when I catch behavioral series that show "big, powerful, dangerous predators" acting like your cute tabby cat, pet pooch, or husband. :)
At the same set that saw the hilarious rolling lion, a fluffy brown black bear showed us some personality too, by demonstrating how bears do their scent marking...
And the full series of 42 furry photos in a video format:
Not only does that look like it feels good, but it also tells the next bear that comes along a lot about brownie here - such as sex, health, reproductive status, and how big he/she is.
I may have to go back and give that tree a try. And if I do, I'll definitely take a measurement - looks to me like that bear's nose reached up over 7 feet. What do y'all think?