If your experience with bears is largely limited to reading Winnie the Pooh as a child, you might think that these fluffy mammals will do anything to put their gigantic paws on a jar of honey. And you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Author AA Milne did not pull his portrayal of bears as honey-hungry maniacs out of nowhere. But their culinary tastes go beyond the sweet stuff from the beehive.
Winnie the Pooh is famous for his love of honey, but is it just him who enjoys the sweet treat, or do all bears enjoy it? Honey’s natural sugars provide a nutritional boost to many living creatures and beings.
Let’s see if honey is adored for its nutritional value or for its sweet and delectable taste.
Is it true that bears only eat honey?
A bear’s diet is varied, and they have a wide range of food options depending on where they live.
Omnivorous bears will eat grass, berries, fish, insects, and smaller mammals such as deer.
Bears require a high protein intake to stay healthy in the wild, so their diet varies throughout the year to accommodate seasonal offerings.
Not all bears eat the same foods; the spectacled bear is a herbivore, so it is more likely to consume honey because its food options are more limited than bears that catch prey.
How do bears obtain honey?
You may be wondering how a bear can climb a tree and extract only the honey from a beehive without falling or being stung by the bees.
The bear eats the entire hive, including the bees and larvae, which is a simple solution.
In contrast to Winnie the Pooh’s well-presented jar of honey, bears will eat the entire beehive because it is a great source of protein.
Because bees contain more protein than honey, evidence suggests that the bear is after the bees rather than the honey itself.
The diet of giant panda bears is the most restricted of all, as they only eat bamboo! Other plants, and occasionally meat, make up only about 1% of their diet.
Wouldn’t you get stung if you touched a beehive?
Although the bears eat the entire beehive, including the bees, there is a cost they must pay.
Fortunately, because bear fur is so thick, bees cannot sting the majority of their body, making this tasty treat worth the risk.
Because the hair around the face and ears is the thinnest, this is the only area where bees can successfully sting.
Is it true that all bears adore honey?
Researchers claim that most bears will seek out beehives for the honey, but black and brown bears are said to be the most fond of it.
They are so obsessed with it that they will go to great lengths to obtain it, including breaking into farms.
In 2018, bears destroyed over 370 beehives in many countries.
They consumed so much of the farmer’s crop that the government was forced to pay $143,000 in compensation for lost and damaged hives and honey.
Due to climate, not all bears have access to beehives. A polar bear living in subarctic conditions, for example, will never taste honey because the climate is too cold for bees to survive.
According to research, some bears enjoy honey, but this is primarily due to the additional nutrition it provides.
If a bear was given a jar of honey, it might be less interested because there would be no hive, bees, or larvae from which it gets the majority of its proteins.
From this, we can conclude that bears prefer honey because of the extras it contains; honey alone would not be a nutritious meal.
Finally, because not all bears eat the same foods, not all of them enjoy honey.