Understanding Bears and How to Stay Safe While Camping

Posted by David Moore on

To better understand bear safety and why it is important to use bear-resistant trash receptacles, it is helpful to gain a better understanding of the types of bears that you might encounter in the wild. In North America, there are three species of bears that you might encounter: brown bears, black bears and polar bears. With polar bears living only in the arctic, most campers are not likely to encounter one while enjoying the great doors. Black bears and brown bears, however, are quite common in certain parts of the United States. Understanding their habits can help you to better understand how to camp safely and enjoy yourself while exploring the wilderness.

Telling the Difference Between Black Bears and Brown Bears

Scientifically known as Ursus americanus, black bears are the most abundant of the three types of bears found in the United States. Varying in color from jet black to cinnamon to white, black bears are generally smaller than brown bears. Brown bears and grizzly bears are part of the same species, scientifically known as Ursus arctos, but there are some differences between the two. While brown bears typically live along the coast of Alaska, grizzly bears live in the northern and interior areas of Alaska as well as in the Rocky Mountains and northern Cascades. Grizzly bears are smaller in size than the brown bears of Alaska.

Exploring the Bear Diet

Both black bears and brown bears are omnivores, which means they eat plants as well as animals. As such, the bear diet consists of roots, grasses, berries, fish, insects and animals. Bears tend to eat more during the late summer and fall as they prepare their bodies for winter hibernation. Since they are opportunistic eaters, they will eat human and pet foods as well as non-foods with strong smells. Among these are handy-wipes, toothpaste, soap, certain types of medicines, bird seed, grills, cooking utensils and garbage. Most human-bear conflicts are the result of bears gaining access to human food sources or otherwise becoming habituated to these food sources.

Keeping Yourself and the Bears Safe

To keep yourself safe from bears and to prevent them from becoming habituated to human food sources, it is important to follow some general bear safety rules while camping. For example, food should be locked safely away in bear-resistant food storage lockers while garbage should be placed in bear-resistant trash receptacles. It is also important to keep your camp area clean and free from items that might attract bears when you are away from camp. Once you are done with the food, it should all be safely stored once again or properly disposed of within the proper trash receptacles. Your pets should also be kept on a leash and their food should be safely secured between meals.

Contact us today or visit our home page to learn more about the many types of bear-safe trash receptacles, recycling bins, food storage containers and hot coal containers available. We are sure we can help you find the right container to suit your needs!

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