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Video: Bear Uses Tree to Show Off Impressive Pole-Dancing Routine

Debra Howell was in just the right place at the right time. She was driving down a forested road near Asheville, North Carolina when she caught sight of a black bear, apparently newly emerged from hibernation. The bear had found an obliging roadside tree and was immersed in a particularly hilarious personal care routine: scratching a whole winter’s worth of itchy spots.

Howell kept an appropriate distance from the bear and pulled out her phone. She started filming just in time to capture the bear wiggling, boogieing, and getting way too into its DIY massage. Howell then set the footage to music and posted it to her TikTok with the hashtag #poledancerhasnothingonme. The video has since gone viral, racking up more than 165 million views on TikTok.

@debrahowell68 #beartreedance #poledancerhasnothingonme ♬ Pony – Ginuwine

Most media outlets (ourselves included) initially assumed that the bear was in pursuit of itch-relief. However, research suggests that that’s not the only reason bears rub up against trees. A recent study tested the theory that tree sap could be a potent insect repellant. They found that beech resin repelled ticks. So, in theory, bears could be slathering themselves with chemicals that naturally protect them from dangerous bites. It could be a particularly smart move this year; scientists have recently discovered that ticks are becoming active earlier in the year, even in winter.

While we can only speculate on the bear’s intentions for this particular performance, we can say one thing for certain: this dude has got some moves. And we can only imagine they’ll work in his favor when bear courtship season starts this summer.

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