What do bears eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What do bears eat?” and provide information on what bears consume in the wild, what bears in zoos consume, what baby bears feed on, how bears hunt as well as what different bears eat.

What do bears eat?

Bears eat fish, insects, berries, and roots. Apart from this, bears can also eat animals. The sheer size, claws, and jaws of the bears can make them one of nature’s hunters. There are many foods that bears eat and the foods would vary depending on the species of bears.

Some of the commonly consumed foods include berries, grasses, roots, plant-based matter, insects, fish, larvae, deer, fruits, and honey.

Deers, seals, walrus, bamboos, and whales are also consumed by them. Apart from this, dead animals can be consumed by bears too. If the bears venture close to human settlements, they can look for food in garbage cans.

What do bears consume in the wild?

Bears, more specifically pandas, consume bamboo. Polar bears consume whales, seals, and walruses.

It is important to consume vegetation in the case of brown or black bears. A majority of the diet of brown and black bears would consist of plant-based matter.

In the spring, they consume grass, roots, wedges, and tubers. When the fruits ripen, they eat them.

Bears can also consume insects like termites, beetles, and ants when they obtain an opportunity to do so.

Bears can also take honey from the honeycomb if they see a honeycomb nearby. If the bears live close to the rivers, they often consume fish like salmon. In the wild, they can also try to feed on the dead animal matter or young deer too.

What do bears in the zoo consume?

The diet of the bears in the zoo can vary based on the season. During the hibernation period, bears can refrain from eating.

In the enclosure, bears can be fed fruits like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. Bears can also consume meat. This can include fish meat, chicken, or rabbit.

As the bears are captive, they can also obtain organ meats from various animals that can be nutritious for them. They can also consume the leg piece of animals like deer or cows.

Veggies like potatoes, carrots, and squash can be given to them. Fruits like grapes, apples, and melons can be consumed by them too.

What do baby bears consume?

Baby bears only consume milk. They have to consume milk for 2 to 5 months. Even after the lactation period is over, bears can continue consuming milk but they can eat other foods too. The mother bear usually hunts for food and provides them to the baby.

Cubs remain with the mother bears till they mature and grow bigger. When the baby bears are kept in enclosures they might be given milk replacements or formula if they are separated from their mother.

Once the cubs are slightly old, they can be given a mixture of fruits, puppy chow, and milk formula.

How do bears hunt?

Bears need to consume a lot of food from day to night as they are larger in size. Bears use their senses to hunt in the wild for food.

The sense of hearing and smell is well developed in bears. Bears also have good eyesight through which they can locate plant-based food.

Bears can detect the scent of their prey or any potential food from miles away. Their sense of hearing is also well-developed. They can hear both low-frequency and high-frequency sounds.

Brown and black bears eat more plant-based matter and they spend their entire time foraging. Pandas would spend around 10-16 hours of their day eating bamboo.

Bears that live close to water sources would hunt for fish. In such cases, bears would hunt with their mouths to catch the fish. Sometimes, bears can attack larger animals too.

What do different bears consume?

Brown bears are primarily herbivorous. They consume plants, moss, berries, mushrooms, and sedges. They are known to hunt fish as well. The diet of grizzly bears is similar to brown bears too.

Black bears consume berries, succulents, fish, grass, meat, insects, and larvae. Small deers or elk can be their prey too. 

Sun bears can eat honey, fruits, and seeds. Some of them even consume birds, reptiles, or mammals. 

Polar bears eat bigger animals like reindeer or walrus. Smaller animals like rodents or birds can be eaten too.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What do bears eat?” and provided information on what bears consume in the wild, what bears in zoos consume, what baby bears feed on, how bears hunt as well as what different bears eat.


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