Watch Two Black Bears Brawl in a New Jersey Suburb

Alan Poulson Photography/

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: October 30, 2022

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It’s not unusual to see footage of bears in suburban and urban areas. They are opportunistic feeders and can be attracted to the food that we humans leave lying around. It is also not unusual to see footage of bears fighting. Males can become territorial and fight over females but fights could also break out over food. Bear fights are often more about posturing and exerting dominance than deadly aggression. Human onlookers often find it interesting and capture it on film. It is, however, more unusual to see both things together, so bear fights in urban areas are a bit rarer.

Bear Fights

In this vid we see a fight breaking out in a front garden. It looks fairly intense and the bears roll down a small slope and break some of the garden ornaments – not that they are bothered about that! The fight continues for some time and spills onto the street. The bears even stop for a rest and then start up again. It is predominantly a wrestling match but their mouths are open at some points with teeth bared. At the end of the footage, one of the bears appears to be backing away but we do not know if that is end of the confrontation.

Bears in Urban Areas

This particular footage was taken in Rockaway which is a borough in Morris County, New Jersey, US. According to media reports, it is not unusual to see bears in this location. The bears in this particular video look like black bears with a smaller stature, no hump, short fur, a straight nose and pointed ears. Black bears also have sharp short claws which they use to haul themselves up trees. They have an excellent sense of smell and may be drawn to human settlements by the smell of available food!

They are found in many areas of North America and their populations are resilient at the moment – some are even increasing. This is probably down to a combination of extensive conservation efforts and their versatility.

As solitary, nocturnal hunters black bears do not encounter each other too often. Bear cubs remain with their mother for the first two years of their lives and then leave to establish lives of their own.

When they are not wandering down urban streets looking for food, they are hunting. In fact, bears spend most of their waking hours looking for food. This does not have to be meat. Up to 95% of their diet can be plant material. They are very fond of berries and fruit as well as grasses, roots, and bulbs. Then, they top this up with animal protein from insects and rodents. However, they will also hunt deer and catch fish if they are available. Bears are not too fussy about what they eat and will even consume carrion!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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