why does playing dead work to avoid getting attacked by brown bears? Wouldn’t they want to eat you more if they thought you were dead and thus couldn’t fight back?

326 viewsBiologyOther

why does playing dead work to avoid getting attacked by brown bears? Wouldn’t they want to eat you more if they thought you were dead and thus couldn’t fight back?

In: Biology

16 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Brown bears don’t want to eat you. They want to attack you because they see you as a threat. If you’re dead you’re no longer a threat

Anonymous 0 Comments

The idea is that *most* of the time a brown bear is going to be attacking a human because they feel threatened or for something like protecting cubs. Since the attack is defensive by playing dead the person convinces the bear they are no longer a threat and hopefully the attack will end. However if the attack does not end then the victim is advised to fight back, for whatever good that is going to do.

Black bears are different in that they are generally much more skittish and will almost always flee from an encounter with a human. If a black bear attacks it is not going to just be roughing you up, so the advice is to attempt to escape or as a last resort you should fight back. Black bears are relatively small so fighting back can be more effective as well. Playing dead is not advised with a black bear attack.

Polar bears are adapted to an environment where they need every meal they can get to survive. If you encounter a polar bear it is going to be trying to eat you and your only chance is to escape or have a firearm that can kill the polar bear. They are very large and fighting back with just your hands is basically useless, and playing dead will just let them eat you in peace.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Brown bears don’t eat people. The main reason they would attack is if they feel threatened. If youre dead, you’re no longer a threat, and they may leave you alone.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You’re only supposed to play dead after the attack has already begun. This let’s them think the fight is over and *hopefully* prevent further mauling. It is not meant to be used to *prevent* an attack.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The overwhelming majority of bear attacks are from brown bear mothers that are protecting their cubs from a perceived threat.

Unless they’re starving, bears generally won’t attack humans for the sake of sustenance.

Polar bears will absolutely hunt humans as a food source but encounters between humans and polar bears are quite rare.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’ve attended several conferences and seminars an bears while living and hiking in areas where there are lots of bears. All of the experts in the presentations agreed that it is a bad idea to lay down. Bears are very curious animals and are likely to investigate, which may result in harm to you.

Only lay down if you’ve already been attacked and cannot get away or otherwise defend yourself. Best strategy is to avoid bears in the first place.

Anonymous 0 Comments

This is anecdotal and I don’t recall the color of the bear. But when I was in boy scouts and went to Philmont (New Mexico), one wandered near our campsite. There were around 30-40 people across a few groups, most of us making dinner. We noted the bear wasn’t tagged (which we would later report). Anyway, we got everyone to stand in a big group and make noise, and the bear decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Anonymous 0 Comments

*Does* it work, or was that just a rumor that Bears started?

Anonymous 0 Comments

Just wanted to add a note that a lot of California black bears are actually a brown color. So you really just need to know where the Grizzlies are, and avoid them at all costs.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I grew up next to a guy who had been mauled 3 times by grizzlies. He said the best thing is to avoid a confrontation. They will keep mauling you after you play dead, they can run downhill, and there are two kinds of trees to a grizzly, big enough to climb or small enough to push over. The scars on that guy’s back were enough to convince me he knew these things first hand.