Watch A Black Bear Casually and Expertly Steal a Free Meal

Written by Marisa Wilson
Updated: November 14, 2022
Image Credit Debbie Steinhausser/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • As far as mammals go, black bears are pretty clever and have an excellent memory and efficient problem-solving skills which they rely on to locate their dinner.
  • These abilities are further enhanced by a particularly powerful sense of smell, further aiding them in their quest for delicious fare.
  • These characteristics mean they have adapted pretty well to the presence of humans in their vicinity and even worked out how to prise dustbins open to get at their contents.

Black bears are amazing creatures. They’re powerful, agile, and have a keen sense of smell. There are a lot of people who don’t know just how brilliant black bears can be. In fact, they’re so bright that they can learn to open dumpsters and raid trash cans for food.

Black bears have been known to memorize the locations of dozens of dumpsters and trash cans and often return to the same ones to steal some scraps. This remarkable memory allows them to find a meal, even in unfamiliar territory, quickly. In addition to their excellent memory, black bears are also great problem-solvers.

Black bear walking
Black bears have a killer sense of smell, which leads them to food sources to satiate their hunger.

DaBler / Creative Commons

They have also been known to use objects such as logs to bash open garbage cans. While they aren’t capable of opening locked doors, they can open unlocked car doors. These impressive abilities make black bears one of the most intelligent animals in the world.

The black bear in this video is no exception! Here in Mary Esther, Florida, you will see a black bear that has learned how to scavage for food properly. The bear carefully approaches the green trash can and then begins wheeling it to the driveway’s edge.

Slowly the bear looks around to make sure someone isn’t going to try to stop him from taking his plunder. Once it gets to the edge of the driveway, it opens the lid and begins to look through the contents.

What is he looking for? Most bears love getting their paws on fresh meat, but leftovers are also a favorite. The entire time this bear’s mannerisms look like a proper thief. It sorts through the trash as a woman would search in a purse. You can see a shorter bear walk past the other to get a closer look.

The smaller bear is obviously very timid and doesn’t approach the other bear or the trash can full of food. The way the trashcan-digging bear acts is somehow civilized. It wouldn’t have been surprising if the bear took a napkin out to tie around his neck and started cutting the leftovers with a fork. No one told this sophisticated bear it was a bear, so it defaults to acting like a human.

The way that this bear acts is a model of intelligence and resource, but also patience and perseverance. It is a model of the black bear that we all like to imagine when we think of them. If you still don’t believe that black bears are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, just watch this video. It will make you a believer.

These fantastic creatures have some pretty impressive skills and abilities. It is so rewarding to see them interact in cute and subtle ways, such as adequately wheeling a trashcan to enjoy lunch after a long day of being a bear. We hope you enjoyed learning about this fun black bear in the video as much as we did.

Check out this other fantastic video!

Do Black Bears Normally Approach Houses?

In addition to a keen sense of smell, black bears also have an excellent memory and problem-solving skills

Alan D. Wilson / Creative Commons

Yes, they do. In spite of being rather fond of fresh meat, these bruins are also rather partial to all the stuff humans love to eat. They also find pet food especially enticing too. From their point of view, a random whiff of either is a sufficiently powerful incentive for them to brave the unknown and not only open bins, but also attempt breaking and entry.

Sturdy doors with exterior lever handles and sturdy bars over windows can prevent bears from gaining access to your home or your garage.

All your car doors and windows must be closed and any items with strong scents or odors such as perfumes, air fresheners, or food, removed, to eliminate any possible temptation which these clever mammals may find hard to resist.

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Black Bears - bear with cubs
Momma Bear with two cubs in a tree. Black bears can be aggressive when there are cubs present.
Debbie Steinhausser/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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