Forest cam captures bears' secret back-scratching party

bears scratching themselves photo
Screen capture Alberta Parks

Tree-hugging is one thing, but these bears have taken it to a whole 'nother level.

In this rather amusing footage captured in the forests of Alberta, Canada, we get an inside look at how some apex predators behave when they think no one is watching. What starts out innocently enough as one bear relieving itself of an itch against a tree, soon turns into an all-out back-scratching party as others arrive to join in on the action.

Despite their reputation as territorial hot-heads, bears in the wild actually possess a complex social structure that can make them seem downright charming. Meeting around a prized scratching post for some much-needed itch relief offers the animals an opportunity to familiarize themselves, easing tension while forming important kinship bonds. Plus, who doesn't love a good scratch?

Sometimes, bears will even help each other out with those hard-to-reach places.

According to the Alberta Parks service, in addition to capturing video of bears bumping and grinding, these camera traps are helping to assess the health and distribution of wildlife in the area with minimal impact on the animals themselves. And while there's plenty to be gleaned from such footage on that front, it's also just nice to know that bears are having a good time.

Tags: Animals | Canada

Best of TreeHugger