I spotted this large hollow tree while hiking the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas. I wanted to show the size of this tree by placing my walking stick and my hat in the photo.
When I looked into the hole I saw that the tree was completely hollow. I didn’t have a flashlight so I was a little leery about sticking my head into the hole. My first thought was that this would be an excellent place for a Black Bear to den. I had enough outside light to see the floor of the hollow tree and it was clean like it had been swept. I could see no sign of any wildlife that was using this tree.
Tree Hollow Facts
Hollows form in many species of trees, and are a prominent feature of natural forests and woodlands, and act as a resource or habitat for a number of vertebrate and invertebrate animals.
Hollows may form as the result of physiological stress from natural forces causing the excavating and exposure of the heartwood. Forces including wind, fire, heat, lightning, rain, attack from insects (such as termites or beetles), bacteria, or fungi. Also, trees may self-prune, dropping lower branches as they reach maturity, exposing the area where the branch was attached. Many animals further develop the hollows using instruments such as their beak, teeth or claws.
Animals will select a hollow based on factors including entrance size and shape, depth, and degree of insulation. Such factors greatly affect the frequency and seasonality of hollow use.
Conservation of hollow-using fauna is an issue in many parts of the world. In North America, recovery of the eastern bluebird has required nest boxes due to the loss of natural hollows. The scarcity of dead, hollow-bearing trees in Scandinavian forests is a key threatening process to native bird life. In Sweden, almost half of red-listed species are dependent on dead hollow-bearing trees or logs. (Wikipedia)