How high can a black bear reach?

bear_standing_reaching_for_backpack.jpgThe bear on the left is a medium-sized male reaching for the backpack is taller than most female black bears.  He stands about 6 feet to the tip of his up-stretched nose and is reaching to maybe 7 feet.  Adult bears are not good at vertical jumping, so anything above 7 ½ feet would be out of reach for this bear and most bears.


Are black bears like dogs?



Dogs can be aggressive, territorial, and prone to attack.

Black bears are generally restrained, non-territorial toward people, and prone to retreat.

Many people imagine bears as oversize attack dogs rushing at intruders. Hunting magazines often portray bears like that, and it is the image many people have as they look into the darkness in bear country.


Are bears related to pigs?

alert_bear_at_vinces.jpg No more than people are related to bears or pigs.

Bears, pigs, and people all have omnivorous diets. They all have broad “bunodont” cheek teeth to crush a variety of foods. They all have large bodies and the ability to store a lot of fat.

Bears and pigs look kind of round from behind. They have slightly similar noses. Both are thought to be among the more intelligent mammals. Both like to roll in mud or water when it is hot. Males and females of both are called boars and sows.

But they are not related.


How timid are black bears?

Black bears are ruled by fear and food—in that order. 

Researchers are frequently amazed at how cautious these powerful animals are about tiny unidentified rustling sounds of red squirrels, mice, or birds. 

Black bears have retreated from butterflies, a pair of mallard ducks waddling into view, a fluttering moth landing on a bear, and many other unlikely causes.

hound_chasing-bear.jpg Hunters who chase bears with hounds can chase the biggest bears with their smallest hound.  Many small yapping dogs have chased black bears out of yards. 

Bear Center researchers have never seen a black bear they couldn't chase away.  Many campers have saved their food by chasing away interested bears.