A brown bear in Alaska was seen scratching its skin with rocks – the first bear definitively known to use a tool

IT IS impossible not to scratch an itch, so it's no wonder this brown bear reached for some help. It was seen scratching its skin with rocks – the first bear definitively known to use a tool.

In July 2011, Volker Deecke of the University of Cumbria, UK, was on holiday in Alaska's Glacier Bay national park when he spotted a brown bear in shallow water. The animal picked up a small, barnacle-covered rock, turned it around a few times then rubbed the rock over its face for a minute. It repeated this with another rock

The bear was moulting, and had big patches of fur hanging off its skin. Moulting bears often scratch themselves with their claws, or rub their bodies against trees or rocks. "The barnacles," Deecke says, "may have given that exfoliating feeling."

Brown bears may not be the only bears to use tools, says Euclid Smith of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. A 1972 report suggested that a polar bear might have clubbed a seal over the head with a chunk of ice (Yearbook of the Norwegian Polar Institute, p 177). But the researchers did not see the event, and the behaviour has never been seen since.

Deecke points out that bears have large brains for their body size, suggesting they are clever, though too few tests of bear cognition have so far been carried out to say for sure. (SOURCE)

(Images: Volker Deecke)

Responses to "Wild bear uses a stone to exfoliate"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nature never fails to AMAZE me!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I knew bears were smart. Just look at a lot of there behavior.

  3. jennifer says:

    what beautiful photos

  4. Anonymous says:

    Extraordinaire !!! magnifiques photos !!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The only reason this hasn't been noticed before is no one was watching for it..

  6. They are very intelligent. I'm really glad this
    use of a tool was caught on camera.
    I hope humans will get smart, appreciate them
    and protect them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    see bears are smart!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    cute. thanks

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wonderfull foto's , hope they leave the bears alone now

  10. Anonymous says:

    that is cool and now there is proof that bears are not dumb animals

  11. DREAMOKWA says:

    j'adore le fait de voir ce que je pensais déjà...les animaux ne sont pas plus "sauvages" que nous,une intelligence différente mais une intelligence qui leur sert et...qui ne dessert pas les autres animaux :-) Merci ,

  12. These are terrific photos. Not surprised at the bear's behavior. Bears in big parks are known to differentiate cars by how easy or hard they are to break into and steal food, and even to teach cubs to recognize the preferred models.

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