Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh, my! part 2

Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Let me tell you a bit about the bears. All the bears in East Tennessee are black bears. However, they can be found to be brown or even a reddish- brown color in other regions of the country. Accordingly, they vary in size and weight due to the sex of the bear and how well they have fed over time. Males are big boys weighing in as much as 250 pounds, females will be smaller at only 200 pounds. By the end of summer, a healthy bear can weigh as much as 600 pounds. By the way, there are records of bears of that size in East Tennessee parks! The black bears can be as long as 6 feet from nose to tail and as much as 3 feet from the ground to their shoulder. They aren’t something to be messed with by any means.

They can see color just like a human. Bears can run as fast as 30 mph! I think it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a normal human to outrun a bear! They can also climb trees very well, they can swim, and their sense of smell is nothing short of incredible. As humans are omnivorous, eating both plants and animals, so are bears. But, thankfully, they mainly eat berries and nuts. Should they have a need for protein they will devour insects or animals that are already dead. Sounds like it’s not a good idea to ‘play dead’ if a bear attacks!! They are often found wandering around searching for food in the early morning hours and the cool hours of the evening in spring and summer. These are the months the bears mate and unlike most other animals, bears do not mate for life. In fact, they have several mates per mating season and many in their life span.

Did you know that garbage left in picnic areas, campgrounds and along hiking trails KILLS bears? A bear that has access to human food and garbage can cause all sorts of problems, it makes the bear change it’s normal behavior and they will lose their instinctive fear of humans. After a while, a bear will know that humans have good stuff to eat and may try approaching humans wanting that good food. They can become dangerous and their actions may be more unpredictable. Bears that get human food damage property and could easily cause harm to people. Momma bear can teach her little ones to get human food and that makes at least two dangerous bears and as many as five dangerous bears. When bears hurt people, they generally must be euthanized. Because of the problems human food and the bears knowing how to get it, park rangers can give you a citation for littering, feeding the bears, and improper food storage. That means fines of up to $5,000 and jail terms for up to 6 months. Keep your distance from bears and don’t litter. Garbage Kills Bears!

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