Bear tours are remarkable opportunities to get up close and personal with these powerful denizens of the animal kingdom, and learn more about their behaviour and habits. Many fictional depictions of the bear provide a simplified explanation of their behaviour, and those on tours often find the chance to observe bear behaviour in the wild illuminating. The bear has been an allegorical presence in human artwork and storytelling for centuries, possibly because certain aspects of their behaviour are understandable in human terms – you may notice irritability is a common trait associated with bears in stories.
Time of Day
One of the most prevalent misconceptions that people are often surprised by on bear tours is the idea that you’ll see the most bears at night. This belief that bears are nocturnal might stem from the habits of bears that live nearby human settlements, often engaging in nocturnal activities such as raiding bins for scraps of food. However, one conception about bears often proven true is that they are solitary animals – this is especially evident to regular bear-watchers, but easy enough to discern even by a novice. Bears are thought to be very asocial animals, as even liaisons between breeding pairs are brief.
One commonly-held idea about bears is that they hibernate during winter – and while this idea is accurate as far as bear behaviour goes, it can be a surprising fact learned on bear tours that technically, it isn’t correct. While many bear species do go into a physical state often colloquially referred to as hibernation or winter sleep, it isn’t true hibernation. Creatures that hibernate will periodically rouse themselves to eat and urinate, but the bear doesn’t display this need during its ‘hibernation’ period. Interestingly enough, the bear conforms to the popular expectations of hibernation; it is the term itself which is most often misunderstood.
Bears and Humans
All bears are capable of great physical power, and fatally injuring a human if provoked; this fact often gives them a greater allure on bear tours! Despite this, bears are often viewed with great sympathy by humans, and laws have been passed in many areas of the world to prevent them from being hunted, and to protect their habitats from destruction. However, people living in many areas close to bear habitats also maintain a healthy respect for the creatures, prohibiting their feeding and setting up deterrent devices to protect crops from hungry bears.