Bears are the biggest carnivores in Europe. They are stout and thickset, with a prominent lump above the shoulders and a short tail. They have large heads and rounded ears. The males are significantly larger than the females.
Signs of presence and activity
Bears leave very particular tracks which are easy to identify. The footprints are very large, with five toe pads and claws. The front paws leave short, wide prints while the back pawprints are always longer than they are wide.When walking normally, a bear’s rear paw leaves a print on top of and slightly to one side of the front footprint. When running, bears move with a lateral gait.
Bear droppings vary considerably depending on what they have been eating. They generally contain seeds, grass, kernels, and fur. If the bear has
been eating vegetation, the droppings will be soft and shapeless. If it has been eating meat, the droppings become more solid and contain fur and
fragments of bone.
It is not unusual to find upturned stones, scratches on rotten tree stumps, or even holes in the grass where they have been digging for food.
Bears rub up against trees and leave fur behind on the trunk, which can sometimes be found up to two metres off the ground. They may also leave claw marks on the bark.