Panthers scratch on trees to maintain their claws just as house cats do. A downed tree or log seems to be preferred but they will also scratch on standing trees, particularly around kill sites. In south Florida the preferred scratching post seems to be a fallen down cabbage palm with a smooth trunk. 

While scratching on downed logs, the panther will stand on or straddle the trunk of the tree and rake its front claws on either side of the trunk.  On standing trees, the scratch marks will typically be between four to six feet high.  Because a panther’s claws are sharp and pointed, the marks left by the individual claws are very thin. Bears also scratch on trees for communication or while climbing or foraging for food but their comparatively blunt claws leave broad marks three to four times wider than a panther’s claws.

Panther scratch marks on a downed cabbage palm trunk with multitool for scale

A Florida panther scratches on a downed log


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