Category Archives: Myths & Misconceptions

Myth: Mother Bears Give Birth in Their Sleep, Wake up in Spring, and Are Surprised They Have Cubs

Untrue.  The mothers’ metabolic rates are slowed by hibernation, but they wake up to birth and care for the cubs like other mothers do. Many “experts” spout this myth as…

Myth: Mother Black Bears Are Likely to Attack

Untrue. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about black bears. Mother black bears are highly unlikely to attack people in defense of cubs. Mother black bears rarely attack people…

Myth: Menstrual Odors Trigger Bear Attacks

Untrue. Although government brochures warn people about it, there is no evidence for this misconception. In 1967, grizzly bears in Glacier National Park killed a menstruating woman and a woman…

Myth: Mothers Reject Cubs That Have Human Scent

Untrue. This is a total myth—as it is for other young birds and mammals. Touching baby birds and mammals does not cause parents to reject them because of human scent….

Myth: Black Bears Stink

Untrue: Most of the time bears smell clean and fresh. Bear Breath A high compliment would be to say someone has bear breath. People who actually smell bear breath usually say…

Myth: Bears Don’t Feel Pain like People Do

Untrue. People, bears, dogs, and other mammals have similar nervous systems to avoid pain and protect their bodies from injury (Fox 2007). Bears have unusually keen senses of smell, taste,…

Myth: Bears Attack If They Sense Fear

Untrue. This is a common worry, but most people are afraid near bears and are not attacked. Meeting a black bear close-up can trigger deep, primal fear. It does that…

Myth: When Bears Lose Their Fear of People, They Become More Likely to Attack

Untrue. Bear researchers across America have found that such bears are no more likely to attack, and may be less likely to attack, than other bears. Here is a summary…

Training Bears

Ruth LaBarge has owned and trained bears for the entertainment industry for over thirty years.  She has the largest selection of working Kodiak bears and black bears in North America. …


Bears are part of human culture.  Perhaps no other group of animals has excited the human imagination in so many ways.  Although none of the popular images of bears reflect…

North American Bear Center

1926 Highway 169
PO Box 161
Ely, MN 55731

(218) 365-7879
(877) 365-7879
[email protected] - Wildlife Research Institute Proud partner of the North American Bear Center
Click here to read updates by our founder
Dr. Lynn Rogers