Are Black Bears Curious Animals? (Complete Guide w/ Videos!)

Black bears have increasingly been spotted in residential areas, and close to people’s homes. As a result, many wonder if they could be a threat. However, could it be they’re just curious?

Here is the answer:

Yes, black bears are curious mammals. Mostly they may sniff around and observe things from a distance. Most times, they will stand on both hind legs to get a better look.

This doesn’t mean they’re getting aggressive. It’s just curiosity, and that’s normal black bear behavior.

Now you know that black bears are curious creatures. Going further, this article will discuss the signs of black bears’ curiosity, why they are so curious, and more!

Keep reading below!

Table of Contents

Why are Black Bears So Curious?

Black bears’ high level of curiosity is a natural adaptation for survival, like a natural instinct. They love investigating things and studying their environment.

In most cases, new scents and objects may make them feel unsafe, thus triggering their curiosity. Consequently, black bears behave this way as a measure of protecting themselves.

10 Signs of a Black Bear’s Curiosity

Here are different ways to know if black bears are being curious:


Sniffing is one of the major signs that show black bears are curious. In most cases, they would sniff new objects more than normal. This is one of the ways they understand and learn new things.

Thanks to their strong sense of smell, they can study their environment pretty well.

Mostly, curious black bears will either sniff the air or a particular thing they’re trying to understand.

Approaching Objects Carefully

Another way of telling a black bear is curious is when they approach objects. Once they identify anything foreign, they will get towards it slowly to find out what it is. 

This is just black bears being careful while trying to learn about new objects. 

Observing From a Distance

Black bears also stand from a distance whenever they see anything new. They would stand and carefully observe from several meters before trying to approach.

Additionally, observing strange things from a distance is usually a way of keeping safe.

Stalking with no Aggression

Once a black bear is curious, it would watch for a while without moving. In other words, they won’t get aggressive until they feel some form of threat.

As they wait, they study the foreign animal or object while being on high alert for any sudden moves. 

Repetitive Visits

When black bears spot anything new and suspicious around them, they will try going near it frequently. This behavior helps them to discover more about the object.

Only a few animals, including black bears, can visit objects several times. Above all, this is one way to tell if a black bear is curious about something.

Playing with Objects

Black bears always try to play with a new object to check if it’s friendly. When they find an object less responsive, they choose the action to take.

This way, you can also tell that a black bear is curious.


Once black bears spot an object that they are not familiar with, they start producing sounds. One of the most common sounds they produce is huffing. 

These mammals may do this to see how the new object or animal responds.

Ear Perked Forward

When black bears are curious, they may perk their ears forward to show it. This action is usually a form of response to stimuli.

This is the most common physical thing you may spot in black bears when curious.

Standing Up on Hind Legs

A Curious Mother Black Bear Standing Up on Her Hind Legs

Black bears also show signs of curiosity by standing on their hind legs. When they see a new object around, they stand up to observe better.

Most of the time, they can stand this way when sniffing the air. It helps them pick up scents better.

How Does This Behavior Help Black Bears Survive?

Curiosity helps black bears survive in various ways. They include:

Keeping Safe

One of the main benefits of a black bear’s curious behavior is protection. Most times when they get curious, they are trying to be careful.

If they sense any form of threat, they’ll try to protect themselves. They could either run away or become aggressive as a form of self-defense.

Locating Food Sources

A Black Bear Curiously Sniffing Berries on a Tree While Eating Them

As they pick up food scents, they can trace it down to the source. This way, these bears are able to find food when it is scarce in their environment.

Don’t be surprised if they locate the food in your garbage, especially if you live in a bear country.

Mating and Parenting

Curiosity allows black bears to learn courting, thus extending their mating periods. As a result, they end up with more offspring and increase their population.

Black bears also interact more with others and learn more skills. Parenting is one of the most common skills that they learn from each other.

Coping With Others

Since black bears are curious, they will most likely learn about other species around them. For example, if other animals are near their habitat, they will try to discover more about them.

If they find no threat, these mammals will try to co-exist with them as much as possible.

What Attracts Black Bears the Most?

Black bears are mostly attracted to scents, sounds, and colors. Let’s discuss this in detail:


Black bears have a very strong sense of smell. As a result, they can smell different types of scents, either good or bad.

These mammals can smell these things more than two miles away (about 3.21 kilometers). The most common scents they can smell are:

  • Honey
  • Fruit trees
  • Other bears
  • Garbage
  • Food remains
  • Perfumes


Different types of sounds can attract black bears. These mammals can identify sounds from other animals and black bears. Some of these sounds include:

  • Tongue clicks
  • Grunts
  • Blowing


Black bears are also quite good when it comes to visuals. This way, several colors can attract them from a distance.

However, bright and solid colors are the ones that can mostly bring these mammals closer. On the other hand, yellow is the most attractive color to black bears since it’s super bright.

Are Black Bears Interested in Humans?

No, black bears are naturally not interested in humans. Only a few occasions allow these mammals to attempt approaching humans.

Why Do Black Bears Approach Humans?

Black bears can approach people when they are curious and just want to study them. They may also approach you because of the strong-smelling deodorants or perfumes you’re wearing.

Bears who have a strong sense of smell may get attracted to you more. They may be thinking that the sweet-smelling perfume is some tasty food.

Black bears see humans as a threat only on very rare occasions. For example, when humans try to harm them, they will approach them in an attacking manner. This move will be an act of self-defense.

Therefore, if a black bear approaches you, back away slowly and don’t run. Additionally, you may stay still and don’t let it see fear in you.

Encounters with Curious Black Bears (Videos)

Video #1: Black Bear Attracted to a Lady’s Scent

Video #2: Young Black Bear Sneaking Up on a Man

Video #3: Black Bear Stalking Family From a Distance

Video #4: Black Bear Approaches Lady Outdoor

Video #5: A Camper’s Tent Attracts a Black Bear

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Will a Black Bear Do If It Sees You?

A black bear will do its best to avoid you once you cross paths. Since it’s a shy mammal, it doesn’t love human interactions unless necessary.

Food is the only thing bringing black bears close to humans; they prefer to maintain their space. What’s more, they normally don’t attack or charge at people for no reason. 

It’s rare and mostly happens if they see you as a threat to them or their cubs.

Are Black Bears Naturally Curious?

Yes, these animals are always careful of anything around their environment. As a result, they would try to investigate and find out more about the new thing around them.

In most cases, these animals get curious about their safety. Additionally, the need for food has also made them naturally curious.


In summary, black bears are naturally curious animals. And this behavior is a kind of adaptation to their survival needs.

You can see curiosity in black bears when they:

  • Stand up on their hind legs
  • Perk their ears forward
  • Play with objects
  • Stalk with no aggression
  • Observe from a distance

In addition, they mostly get curious when trying to:

  • Locate food
  • Stay safe
  • Mate and raise cubs well
  • Cop well with others

Above all, curiosity helps black bears in improving their security. However, when they see humans, they don’t attack immediately.

Does this mean black bears are friendly? Well, don’t go joking around with these bears.

Here are 5 reasons why black bears are not friendly.