Black bear up from hibernation has a good back scratch in Anmore, B.C.
Watch male black bear scratching his back on a tree in Metro Vancouver this morning
Waking up isn't easy, especially after months of hibernation.
But this morning, a bear emerging from the forest in Anmore, B.C. found the perfect scratching post to help him face springtime — right in Jim Korchinski's back yard.
"I was just finishing my morning coffee ... and saw him scamper up the back garden," said Korchinski.
Against the backdrop of evergreens, the male black bear stood and chose one — the one Korchinski's kids had planted "when they were little guys" about 20 years ago — and settled in for several minutes of back scratching.
"It was a very well practiced technique that's for sure," said Korchinski, who posted the video to YouTube and shared it with CBC.
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"I just thought the neat part was where he reached behind with his paw and grabbed the top of the branch and kind of pulled it over ... there was another spot that needed attention."
Itchy back, or ...?
Living on an acreage at the edge of Metro Vancouver, Korchinski is used to a parade of wildlife past his window — including a mother bear and cubs rolling around on his lawn — but he hadn't seen this particular behaviour before.
Back scratching is fairly common in bears — even cartoon ones, like Baloo in Disney's Jungle Book — but it might have nothing to do with a hard-to-reach itch. A 2007 study on B.C. bears suggested rubbing on trees is actually a means of marking scent for communication.
Korchinski is glad the tree got the bear's attention, rather than his already-chewed hot tub cover.
"We're hopeful that he's finally found something that makes him happy, so that he can stop chewing our hot tub cover to pieces!" he posted on YouTube.