I spent quite some time yesterday with my snout buried inside the crevices of fur between my claws. Past coming up for the occasional gulp of fresh air, I kept my face in the center of the smell consistently for a long time.
I liked it.
The smell, that is. I really liked it. The fur that is nestled there relaxes me and makes me feel good about myself, my fur, and my claws.
Rob (the squirrel), however, disagreed. Rob (the squirrel) approached me while I was enjoying the smells emitting from my feet, and he was quickly disturbed by the image. He aggressively asked me what I was doing and why I was doing it. I explained, and he asked if he could have a whiff as well. I did not see the harm in sharing such an intoxicating fragrance, so I let him smell the fur between my claws.
His eyes watered.
His face went sour.
He ran up a tree, nearly slamming his head into it as he recklessly escaped the odor of my feet.
I was hurt, honestly. Why did he find my foot smells so repulsive when I found them so delightful. I continued to smell my claw-fur for awhile before I decided to investigate why my smells might have upset Rob (the squirrel).
I had to question whether or not my nose was a good judge of a smell’s character. Just because I liked the smell of something, did that mean it was a universally beloved smell? Did that smell have any kind of popular opinion behind it? Did every creature experience smell in a unique manner?
I had to survey.
I first asked a raccoon in a dumpster I frequent if the fur between my claws smelled good. He was hesitant to try sniffing them, and, in the end, wound up biting them before running away. This was useful data for other questions I have about the forest (example: do raccoons like me?), but it did little in helping me understand my smell dilemma.
I decided to ask a longtime foe of mine for his opinion. I figured if the deer across the river had even the slightest interest in my smells, then those smells must be generally acceptable to all creatures who are not terrible, disgusting beasts and, therefore, Rob (the squirrel) was merely an odd exception.
The deer across the river told me my smells are as pointless as bears are. I then spent some time staring at him while sniffing the fur between my claws simply to spite him.
Finally, I tried testing my bear aromas on some mice who had slept under my belly that morning. Surely they found my belly fur smells enjoyable, so they must have something to say on the subject. They told me they were too consumed by the warmth of my belly fur to notice its smell. I offered them a chance to smell my belly again just to get their opinions, but they slowly backed away from me in unison upon the suggestion.
I like my smells.
I know they might not be for everyone in the forest, but I do enjoy them. Perhaps we all have different ways of smelling, though, which should make me feel like I do not need the approval for my smells that I so desperately seek. But I still feel the need for that approval.
I hope you like my smells.
If you would like to try being a bear, why not read some of the bear adventures available on this very site?
For any questions or comments directed at Bear, feel free to write to him using this email: justasinglebear@