Bears are animals that are often used as motifs for characters.
They are also animals that live close to our human living areas.
However, bears also have a violent side that attacks people.
Are there any other secrets hidden in bears? Let’s take a closer look at bears.



~ Basic information. ~


Asian black bear. Length:110~150cm Weight40~150㎏.
Brown bear. Length:150~240cm Weight110~380㎏.

Bears inhabit various countries around the world.
There are two types of bears that inhabit Japan: the brown bear and the Asian black bear.
The Japanese black bear inhabits Honshu in Japan, and the Hokkaido brown bear inhabits Hokkaido.

Bears live alone and when they are in groups, there are four possibilities.
1)Mother bears and their cubs.
2)Siblings who have just left their parents.
3)Pairs of males and females who have reached the breeding season.
4)Spots where food is abundant.


Near the areas where humans live, young male bears or mother bears with cubs are present.
Powerful males occupy places where food is abundant in the mountains, so weaker bears have no choice but to live in areas where humans are present.

In the case of mother bears, there is a possibility that they inhabit areas where humans are present on purpose.
This is because during the breeding season, males search for females.

Mother bears do not go into heat until their cubs become independent.
Therefore, male bears try to kill cubs and mate with mother bears.
To prevent such a situation from occurring, mother bears take measures to prevent male bears from approaching by using the presence of humans.
It’s a smart way of thinking to protect their children.

Mother bears have a lot of affection for their children and take care of them.
Bears mate in the summer during the breeding season, and mother bears give birth and raise their cubs while hibernating alone.
The size of newborn babies is about 300-500g and they give birth to 1-3 cubs.

During hibernation, there is nothing to eat, but they continue to give milk to their babies.
By spring, the small newborns grow up to 4-5 kg.
On the other hand, mother bears go outside in a thin state and search for food.

From 1.5 to 2.5 years until the child becomes independent, the mother raises the child alone.
During this period, there are two roles that the mother bear provides for her child.

1)Role of passing on knowledge necessary for survival.
From how to secure food to not approaching male bears.
And knowledge for survival such as being careful with humans.
It is an important role because if a child is female, it will be passed on to grandchildren as well.

If the mother bear does not have a sense of crisis against humans, the child bear will also grow up as a child without a sense of crisis.
That is dangerous for both bears and humans.
Therefore, humans need to act to make bears recognize a certain level of crisis.

2)Role of protecting from male bears.
During the breeding season, male bears try to kill baby bears in order to mate.
In such a situation, mother bears put their children on trees and fight against males themselves.
To protect their children, they have the strength to challenge even if the opponent is strong.

Unfortunately, they cannot protect all children.
Male bears are large and sometimes kill them because they are too strong.
You can feel the harshness of the wild world.

When the children are safely independent, the mother bear can enter the next estrus period.
Male bears rub their backs against trees to mark them, and the more trees there are, the more appeal of strength it becomes.
Female bears smell that odor and go looking for strong males.
Bears can breed about 5-6 times in their lifetime.




Bear’s Q&A.

How strong is the bear’s biting force?

Bears have one of the strongest biting forces among animals and are in the top 10.
Specifically, human biting force is about 1.1 million Pa.
In contrast, the strongest polar bear’s biting force is about 8.27 million Pa.

You can see that the bite power is 7.5 times stronger than humans.
If you are bitten with such force, you will be seriously injured.


Can bears distinguish colors?

Bears have poor eyesight and are nearsighted, but they have the ability to distinguish colors.
This ability to distinguish colors means that they can see colorful hues like humans.

Many animals have colors that they cannot recognize, such as not being able to see red.
Bears that can recognize colors are rare.
By recognizing colors, bears can determine whether nuts are ripe or not, which is useful for them.


How good is a bear’s sense of smell?

Bears have poor eyesight but have excellent sense of smell and hearing.
Let me explain how much better their sense of smell is compared to humans.

Dogs are the most representative animals that have a better sense of smell than humans.
Among these dogs, the Bloodhound has 300 times the sense of smell of humans.
That number alone is amazing, but bears have seven times the sense of smell of Bloodhounds.
This means that bears have 2,100 times the sense of smell of humans.

This excellent sense of smell is useful for finding food.
They can even distinguish the scent of an animal’s corpse from a distance of about 30 km.


What do bears eat and live?

Bear’s diet changes depending on the season.

【Spring is around March to May.】
As they have just woken up from hibernation, they prefer soft grass.
Soft grass includes plants such as Japanese butterbur, skunk cabbage, and water dropwort.

This season is also the time when humans want to go out and pick wild vegetables.
When doing so, you need to be careful.
Places where wild vegetables are often found may be bear feeding grounds.
Hungry bears that have just woken up from hibernation may attack humans so that they are not robbed of their food.

April is a season where accidents with bears occur frequently, and 60% of fatal accidents are related to wild vegetable picking.
Let’s take measures to avoid encountering bears and go wild vegetable picking.


【Summer is around June to August.】
During the breeding season of bears, males seek females and their range of activity expands.
They spend their time eating butterbur and dropwort as they did in the spring, but gradually the grass becomes scarce.
They also eat insects such as bees and ants, but they cannot fill their stomachs.

When there is little to eat, they come down from the mountains to eat human crops.
Summer is a tough season for bears when there is little to eat.

【Autumn is around September to November.】
Bears seek a lot of food to store the nutrients and fat needed for hibernation.
They sometimes eat for 8 hours a day and 30% of their body weight becomes fat.

In the mountains, they eat acorns, walnuts, bower actinidia, mountain grapes, japanese rowan, cowberry, udo, fatsia sprouts, sawtooth oak and chestnuts.
They also prey on fish such as salmon and trout if they live near their habitat.

Like in spring, you need to be careful not to encounter bears.
Accidents involving people who come to mushroom hunting and bears increase in autumn.
The number of deaths is lower than in spring, but many people are injured, so be careful.

【Winter is around December to February.】
Mother bears that are pregnant as early as late November, followed by non-pregnant female bears and male bears, hibernate.

In spring, male bears wake up first and start moving around. During hibernation, they sleep without eating or excreting, and only pregnant bears wake up for childbirth.

I thought they ate more meat, but I found out that they mainly live on plants and insects.

Why do bears hibernate?

Have you ever wondered why bears hibernate even though they are large mammals that seem to be resistant to cold?
There are two reasons why bears hibernate.

Reason 1: There is no food to eat in winter.
Plants and insects that bears eat in spring and autumn do not appear in winter.
Therefore, bears eat a lot of food during the autumn when there is plenty of food available and store body fat.
By doing so, they can consume body fat little by little during hibernation and survive the winter.

Reason 2: They are trying not to waste energy.
If they were active in the winter when there was no food, they would waste energy.
Therefore, they store energy in the autumn so that they can spend the winter without eating or excreting and without using their energy.
They do not just sleep, but reduce their metabolism and calories consumed.
Their bodies have adapted to survive in harsh environments.

In Japan, where there are four seasons and food changes with the seasons, hibernation is necessary.
However, if the environment allows them to continue to collect food without changing climate, hibernation is not necessary.
In fact, bears kept in zoos do not hibernate because they are given food and a warm environment.


Why do bears attack humans?

There are five reasons why bears attack humans.

Reason 1: They know how delicious humans are.
Every year, some people die from bear attacks.
Bears not only kill humans but also eat them.
When they have such an experience, bears recognize humans as food because they are highly intelligent creatures.

Bears eat mostly plants, so when there is a poor harvest, they run out of food.
If they learn that humans are easy prey and can be caught easily, they will continue to attack humans.

Reason 2: To exclude humans from taking their food.
Encounters between humans and bears often occur during the season when people are gathering mountain vegetables or mushrooms.
Bears also encounter humans because they are looking for plants such as mountain vegetables.

In the spring, bears are extremely hungry after hibernation, and in the fall, they must store up nutrients for hibernation.
If they encounter humans in such a state, they will attack them because they think their food is being taken away.

Reason 3: Because they were surprised to encounter humans.
Like humans who are surprised when they encounter bears in the mountains, bears are also surprised by the presence of humans.
In the momentum of surprise, bears attack humans.
To prevent such accidents, it is necessary to carry something that makes noise.

Reason 4: Because I tried to protect my child.
Mother bears will attack humans if they try to protect their children.
Even if baby bears are cute, you should not approach them because their mother is always lurking nearby.
Even female bears have strong attack power and are stronger than humans.

Reason 5: Because it wanted to play with humans.
Curiosity is strong in young male bears, and they tend to have a low sense of crisis towards humans.
They are interested in humans and approach them to play.

However, even if they want to play, the bear’s strength is stronger than that of humans, so they may get seriously injured.
It is important to carry knives and other sharp objects as well as noise-making devices because they cannot be countered by noise alone.


What should I do if I encounter a bear?

Measures and knowledge to avoid encountering bears are necessary.

Avoid places where bears often go.
For example, there is a high possibility of encountering bears in the morning and evening at streams, and you may also encounter them in places with poor visibility such as bamboo groves.
Sometimes you may find a bear right in front of you before you notice it.

Carry bear countermeasures items.
Specifically, you will need something that makes noise and weapons that can be used against bears.

Noise-making items are used to appeal to the existence of humans to bears.
Bears have a surprisingly timid personality, so when they hear noise, they will avoid humans so as not to match them.
Using bear bells, radios, and whistles is also a method, but human voices are also effective.
However, since some bears intentionally approach humans, carry weapons as well.

Here are two weapons to counter bears.

Weapon 1: Bear repellent spray.
If you can spray it on the bear, it is effective, but some people do not carry it because the price of one bottle is a bit expensive.
It is a tool that does not hurt to have one for safety, so carry it with you.

Weapon 2: Weapons such as hatchets.
To resist bear attacks, you can resist with weapons such as hatchets.
If it is a hatchet, it can cause some damage to the bear.


Even if you take precautions, you may encounter a bear.
We will explain what not to do in such a situation.

First of all, please follow these three points.

1)Do not make loud noises or scream.
Bears become excited when they hear loud noises.

2)Do not turn your back and run.
Bears react to things that run, so if you turn your back and run, they will chase you.
I understand that you may feel like running away, but please be patient and slowly back away without stimulating the bear.

3)Do not take your eyes off the bear.
If you take your eyes off the bear, it will judge you as weak and attack you.
Keep your eyes on it and slowly move away.

Follow these three points and wait for the bear to leave.
I know you may feel scared, but this is a measure that gives you a chance to survive.
People who have the opportunity to go to the mountains should remember this.



Type of bear.

【Asian black bear genus.】
・Japanese black bear.

・Himalayan Black Bear.

・Balochistan black bear?

・Formosan black bear?

・Ussuri black bear?

・Tibetan black bear?

・Perennial black bear?

【Spectacled bear genus.】
・Spectacled bear.

【Sun bear genus.】
・Sun bear.

・Bornean Sun Bear.

【Sloth bear.】
・Sloth bear.

・Sri Lankan Sloth bear.

【Brown bear.】
・Hokkaido Brown Bear。

・Grizzly bear.

・Eurasian brown bear.

・Tibetan Bear.

・Kodiak bear.

・Himalaya Brown Bear.

・Brown bear.

・Syrian brown bear?

・Alaskan grizzly?

・Kamchatka brown bear.

・Alaskan peninsula brown bear?

・Ussuri brown bear?

・Sitka brown bear.

・Sticky Grizzly?

・Amur brown bear?

・Marsican brown bear.

・Polar bear.

【Black bear.】
・Eastern black bear.

・Olympus black bear?

・New mexico black bear?

・California black bear.

・Haida gwaik black bear?

・Cinnamon black bear?

・Blue bear.

・Mexican black bear.

・Florida black bear.

・Newfoundland black bear.

・Kermodes bear.

・Louisiana black bear?

・West mexican black bear?

・Kinai black bear?

・Alexander black bear?

・Vancouver black bear?


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