Friday, July 10, 2020

What animal made this?

I've been puzzling over this all week.

Alongside the trail to the Elk River, there were a half-dozen or so small trees with scraped and peeled bark.

Two trees, evergreen, about 5-6 inches across trunk.

The bark was stripped right down to the wood, on one side of each tree only, from about two feet above ground to maybe 6 feet. I couldn't find claw marks outside of the stripped area.

The cuts were fresh, still oozing. Most of the trees were in the bush, among shrubs and other trees. In the pair above, there was maybe a foot of space between the trees.

Are those claw marks, or spots where the bark has been pulled off?

What did this, I wonder. Bears sharpen their claws on trees, but not on little saplings like these. Beaver (and this wasn't beaver habitat) chew alders, not evergreens, leaving tooth marks near the bottom of the tree. Deer rub against trees and bucks flail at them with their antlers, but there was no room for a deer in front of some of these, and no broken shrubbery around them. And no deer scat. Cougars mark trees, but leave obvious claw marks, shredding or slicing the bark, but not stripping the tree.

At the viewpoint some 300 metres away, they tell us to look for elk. Elk also scrape trees, but they're much bigger than deer; they wouldn't fit here.

This scraping looks a bit older.

I've been browsing photos of animal marking on trees; if these were more in the open, I'd think they were possibly deer markings. Except for the long vertical lines. And the lack of scat or deer spoor or nibbled and broken shrubs.

What do you think?


Esto me tiene perpleja.

Junto al sendero hacia el mirador en el Rio Elk, había media docena de arbolitos con la corteza hecha trizas.

Los árboles medían cerca de 15 cm. de grueso, y los cortes empiezan a unos 60 cm. arriba del suelo, y alcanzan a 2 metros. Los cortes eran recientes; todavía estaban húmedos. No vi huellas de garras en la corteza alrededor.

¿Qué animal hizo esto?

Los osos se alfilan las garras en los árboles, pero escogen troncos más grandes; aquí sus pata abarcarían dos árboles juntos. Los venados se rascan la espalda y la cornamenta en los arbolitos, pero aquí no hay sitio abierto, y nada había dañado los arbustos alrededor. Y no hubo nada de excremento ni huellas de venado. Las pumas se alfilan las garras en los troncos, también, pero dejan cortes muy marcados en la corteza, sin pelar el árbol.

Los castores comen la corteza de los alisos, dejando huellas de sus dientes en la parte inferior del tronco. No he visto que comieran los árboles de hoja perenne.

En el mirador, nos dicen que podemos tal vez encontrar alces. Los alces también se rascan contra los árboles, pero son mucho más grandes que los venados. Y donde dos árboles crecen juntos, hay apenas unos 30 cm. de espacio. Ni un venado cabe allí.

Me he pasado unas horas mirando fotos de troncos marcados por animales, pero no llego a ninguna respuesta. ¿Qué animal sería, crees?


  1. A porcupine maybe? I haven't seen one recently, but maybe a porcupine could do that. They seem to be getting scarce. Thank you for speaking Spanish.

    1. We have porcupines in BC, but not here on Vancouver Island.

  2. Replies
    1. They don't occur here on the island, either.


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