he most common bears in North America are black bears, which are actually the smallest species in the continent, but they tend to be widely distributed across different regions. Here are some interesting facts about black bears:
Not all black bears are colored black
Despite their name, some black bears have blue gray or blue black coats, and some even have cinnamon and brown fur. In rare cases, there have been black bears that have white coats.
Black bears are not very picky with food
This is one of the main reasons why black bear camping sites and parks constantly remind visitors not to feed the bears. They are very opportunistic eaters and will eat anything from grasses and roots to fish and even smaller mammals. Bears that get fed by constantly by humans will no longer be wary of humans and may get dangerous.
They are naturally curious and will approach camps
If you are camping in bear country, it is best that you keep constantly aware of your surroundings. You don’t know when a black bear will come across your campsite and decide to investigate your tent. A bear that is trying to pique its curiosity is easily startled into a defensive rage.
Black bears are solitary animals
Black bears tend to keep to themselves, but they do roam large territories. They are not very territorial against other bears, though.
Bear attacks on humans are actually rare
Bears should be treated with caution and respect as they have the capability to harm a person when provoked, but cases of humans being attacked are actually very rare. In fact, a person is a hundred thousand times more likely to get hurt in a car accident or a hundred times more likely to be harmed by a swarm of bees than get mauled by a black bear. Majority of injuries from black bears result from people trying to pet, feed, or provoke them.
What to do when a black bear is encountered
Bears are not malicious animals and will try to avoid humans when they can, but in case you manage to encounter one, here are the things you should do:
Stay Calm and Do Not Run
Black bears are easily frightened and high strung, and sudden movements like running may elicit a chase response. Avoid eye contact and slowly back away. If you must talk, do it in a calm soothing voice.
Restrain companions and try to keep them calm as well
This is especially important if you have kids with you. In fact, you should train kids beforehand not to panic or scream when a bear is encountered. Dogs should be restrained.
Do not panic when the bear stands up
If you are already backing away and the bear decides to stand up, do not panic and run away. Continue backing away slowly. A bear standing up does not necessarily mean it’s going to attack, as it’s only curious and trying to get a better sniff or view.