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Bears are mammals that belong to the Ursid family, included in the order of carnivores. However, we will see that these large and amazing animals, which can be found on most continents, do not only eat meat. In reality they have a very varied diet and this depends on several factors.
Bears spend a great deal of time eating and among the foods they consume, the odd human being is not ruled out, although this is rare, since attacks usually occur as a defense and / or protection mechanism. If you want to know what do bears eat, don't hesitate to read this AnimalWised article.You may also be interested in: What do tigers eat? Index
- Digestive system of bears
- Bear feeding
- Do bears eat humans?
- Fun facts about the feeding of bears
Digestive system of bears
Bears are omnivorous animals, since they eat animal and plant species. This is why its digestive system, which is adapted to a great variety of foods, is not as extensive as that of only herbivorous animals nor as short as that of only carnivores, since the bear's intestines are of medium length..
However, these animals they need to be eating continuously, since not all the food they eat can be digested. As they also feed on plants and fruits, their teeth are not as sharp as other wild carnivores, but they do have some very prominent canines and large molars that they use to tear and chew food.
As good omnivores, they normally consume all kinds of food, both animal and plant matter. However, they are considered opportunistic, since their diet depends on where each species lives and the resources it can access. In this way, a polar bear only feeds on animal species, since in the Arctic they cannot access plant species. Meanwhile, a brown bear can access vegetables and animals, since it lives in wooded areas with access to rivers. In this section, we can know what do different types of bears eat:
- Grizzly (Ursus arctos): their diet is very varied and includes fish, some insects, birds, fruits, grass, cattle, hares, rabbits, amphibians, etc..
- Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus): their diet is basically carnivorous, since they can only access animals that inhabit the Arctic, such as walruses, belugas and seals, mainly.
- Panda bear (Ailuropoda melanoleuca): Since they live in wooded areas of China, where bamboo is abundant, this becomes their main food. However, sometimes they can also ingest some other insects.
- Malay bear (Helarctos malayanus): these bears inhabit the warm forests of Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo and Malaysia, where they especially feed on small reptiles, mammals, fruits and honey.
If you want to know more about the characteristics of these and other species of bears, do not hesitate to read Types of bears - Species and their characteristics
Do bears eat humans?
Given the large size of bears and their varied diet, it is not uncommon to wonder if these animals can also devour humans. Given the fear of many people, it should be noted that man is not a food that is included in the usual diet of bears.
However, we must always be careful if we are near these large animals, since there is evidence that on some occasions they have attacked and / or preyed on human beings. The main reason for most attacks has been the need to protect their young and their territory. However, in the case of the polar bear, it is understandable that it has more predatory instincts, since if it has never lived near people it will not be afraid of trying to prey on them, especially when its usual food may be scarce in nature..
Since you know the danger that these animals can pose, you may also be interested ¿How to survive a bear attack?
Fun facts about the feeding of bears
Since you know what bears eat, these data about their diet can be very interesting:
- Among the fish most consumed by the bear stands out the salmon. Bears use their large claws to capture them and eat them at high speeds.
- Despite the fact that most animal species that prey are small, there are cases in which they consume deer and elk.
- They have a long tongue that they use to extract honey.
- Depending on the time of year and where the bears live, the amount of food they consume is different. So these animals they tend to consume more food than they need to survive in times of food shortage.
- They present some very long claws to dig and find food underground (insects, for example). These are also used to climb trees and hunt their prey.
- Bears use the sense of smell, which is highly developed, to smell its prey at great distances.
- In some regions where the bear lives close to human populations, there have been cases in which these animals have been seen feeding on grass on golf courses.
- Bears can spend around 12 hours a day to food intake.