Are Bears Dangerous To Humans? Do Bears Eat Humans?

Are Bears Dangerous To Humans? Do Bears Eat Humans?

Bears are wild large, unpredictable creatures that have been a topic of research for years and are very fun to study.

There are two main species of bears, and their behaviors differ largely.

Bears are normally not dangerous to humans and will only attack when threatened.

Although they are omnivores, bears do not eat humans because they are different from their usual diet.

If anything, they are very wary of humans. They will only eat humans in cases of extreme starvation. 

This article will give a detailed explanation of the dos and don’ts of bears and also explain why a bear might eat you.

Are Bears Dangerous to Humans?

Bears are one of the biggest land predators, and they appear to be very scary.

However, they are more likely to avoid people than hunt them for food.

This may change when they are startled, extremely hungry, or feel threatened. 

While rare, there have been instances of attacks on humans resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.

Food and Young Protection

Bears are very curious creatures, which means that sometimes in their search for food, they may come close to human habitations (in their yards, in their garbage mostly).

Suppose you come across them; slowly back away while facing them.

Approaching the bear will make it see you as competition for food, thus making them dangerous.

Mother bears will also attack anything that they feel constitutes a risk to their cubs.

When they do attack, they inflict grave injuries, and survival chances become pretty slim. 


When a bear is hungry to the point of death, it will attack anything that seems edible; a person or animal. 


Just as humans attack anything that they feel is a threat, bears are very much the same.

Their instincts of self-preservation are top-notch, and they are very sensitive creatures. 

A wounded bear is very dangerous, and it will maim its attacker.

Humans that have had the bad fortune of coming across a bear with a gunshot wound, for the most part, did not survive. 

The American black bear is timid, and chances are it would rather flee from you than draw nearer.

Of all the bear types, the polar and grizzly ears are the most dangerous. They will not hesitate to hunt down a human. 

However, it should be noted that bears are intelligent creatures, and their first instinct when they encounter a human will not be to attack.

In most cases, the human’s reaction will determine their behavior.

Luckily for everyone, there are strategies you can use to avoid attracting bears and becoming their next meal. 

Tips to Survive a Bear Attack

These tips are not fail-safe, in some rare occasions, they won’t work. What they do is help up your survival chances.

Rest assured, bear attacks are extremely rare, and you may end up never needing these tips in your lifetime.

Nevertheless, below are useful tips on how to survive an attack from a bear:

1. If it’s brown, don’t run; if it’s black, fight back

This popular saying is used to explain that when one stumbles on a brown bear, one falls instantly and feigns dead.

It won’t see you as prey anymore and, in most cases, will walk away.

If you meet a black bear, fight back by attacking its face (muzzle and eyes) with any object within reach.

You can’t play dead to a black bear; they may be timid, but they’re distrusting and get easily suspicious. 

2. Make yourself look bigger

Find a rock next to you and climb on it to look taller. If there are any children with you, carry the person.

It has the added benefit of making you more intimidating. Also, if you don’t do this, the bear will immediately determine them as prey and attack them. 

3. Carry bear spray

When backpacking in the wild, you should always have bear spray on you.

To use it, you detach the safety clip and aim the nozzle slightly beneath the bear’s face( bear spray moves upward) when you’re about 18 meters close to it and spray.

Once the bear retreats, run in the opposite direction. 

4. Travel in groups

When you move as a group, the bear won’t attack because of the noise you would be creating. It will go in a different direction. 

5. Don’t shoot a bear

Aside from the fact that it goes against the principle of protecting wildlife, know that a wounded bear is much more dangerous.

The pain will make them go crazy, and they will attack you without hesitation. 

Do Bears Eat Humans?

Bears do not consider human beings as a primary food source. If anything, they are very wary of people and avoid us when possible.

That said, one should know that a bear will pursue and eat a human when it is starved. 

Not all bears are inclined to hunt humans as their last option. Out of the eight species of bears in existence, only the polar bears and grizzly bears will hunt humans. 

When a bear eats a human, it gets euthanized; left alone; it may develop a taste for human flesh and keep coming back for it. 

Related Questions

Are bears scared of people?

Bears are not exactly scared of people; they have their reservations towards them, and for this reason, they usually distance themselves. 


Bears are as dangerous as you let them become; they are solitary creatures for the most part and prefer to be left alone unperturbed.

They do not consume human flesh as it is not their primary food source.

That said, a bear will attack and eat humans when it is very hungry.

Three bear species are capable of this: the polar bear, the grizzly bear, and the Asiatic black bear. 

To avoid falling prey to them, study the environment you plan to go to, take preventive measures, make it a group trip if possible, and most importantly, never forget your bear spray!