Black Bear sow in lush green grass near Tower Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Montana _

VOCALIZATIONS AND BEHAVIORS

How Bears Talk

 

When a bear makes sounds and gestures, what do they mean to communicate?  We cannot speak bear, but we can have a very good idea what a bear wants to say when it speaks.  We can watch how a bear communicates with other bears and then recognize the similarities when a bear tries to communicate with a human.  What we have learned is that when bears communicate with people in this manner, an attack on a person has not happened.

Too often bears are killed by people for communicating with people the best way they know how.  The bears are killed because their behavior during communication is misunderstood as being aggressive and dangerous.  The communicating bear is not aggressive, it is uneasy and nervous.

Mike McIntosh

WiseAboutBears.org

Video and Audio files provided by the North American Bear Center and the Wildlife Research Institute

Family and Friendly Sounds

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Cub Screaming
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Grunts From Mother to Cub
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Tongue Clicks During Courting
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Cubs Nursing
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Motherly Grunts
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Friendly Sounds of a Captive Bear
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Mourning a Missing Cub

Scary Sounds You Shouldn't Be Afraid Of

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Harmless Nervous Bluster
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Huffing is the release of nervous energy
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Sounds of Conflict
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Bluff-charging is harmless bluster
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Forceful blowing indicates high anxiety
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Pounce and slap = nervous uncertainty