Bears and Humans: A Misunderstood Relationship

The Fuzzy Bear on This Sign is Quite Tame

Some animals are seriously misunderstood. Snakes, bats, and sharks are among the most commonly feared animals—but for what good reason? Roughly 10 people die from snake bites each year, 20 from sharks. In other words, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than die from an animal attack. Similarly, people are more afraid to be within 20 feet of a bear than to be outside during a thunderstorm. Why? Because the perception of the bear as a hungry carnivore is wrong.


The most common misconception about bears is that they’re bloodthirsty savage beasts that will attack a human at the drop of a hat. False. The reality is that bears have developed a bad reputation (grizzlies in particular) because whenever you hear about a bear in the news, it’s because it killed someone. Even grizzlies, one of the most physically imposing animals on earth has a gooey center. Think I’m just blowing hot air? Click on this story and prepare to collect your jaw from your desk.

Ok, so I’ve shown that bears can be tamed when raised from birth—just like every other mammal. But what about wild bears? They have little interaction with humans and are surely dangerous, right? Wrong. Here are some pictures about an Alaskan family that is downright friendly with wild bears. You know what’s wrong with those pictures? Nothing. Here’s why.

The American Black bear is the most common species of bear in North America. Instead of meat, they feast mostly on nuts, berries, fruit, and insects (resulting in a reportedly “fresh” smelling scat). They are skittish by nature having evolved alongside dangerous predators like saber toothed cats, American lions, and dire wolves. To escape these predators black bears developed two key traits: run and climb (the latter being a unique trait among North American bears).


Woman feeding bear

Some "Savage"

Because of this timid nature Black bears generally flee humans. But just like any other animal, when given a steady food source, they learn to adapt to surroundings. In Hemlock Farms, PA people have learned to coexist with bears, going so far as to feed and pet them as they walk by. How many other 500+ lb. wild animals allow you to touch them? That’s mutual trust right there folks, and a sure sign that much of the bears’ reputation is underserved.

I’m not saying that bears are consistently tame and docile creatures because under the right conditions even a mild mannered animal can “snap”. What I’m saying is that looks deceive, and despite an intimidating physique, bears are rather gentle (opposite of the world’s most dangerous creature).

Despite the passivity of bears, our Bear-themed plaques are as close to a bear as most people want to be. We promise you they do not bite (or claw). Decorate your house today with a bear-themed plaque!

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