Like the mouse with its piece of cheese and the squirrel with its hazelnut, the bear is very often represented greedily eating honey. This image is not an invention: brown bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus), among others, appreciate this food very rich in sugar and are attracted to hives. However, it is not known what interests them most in honeycombs; They certainly devour honey, but swallow up all bees and their larvae, which are an excellent source of protein. These attacks take place in the spring, when hungry bears come out of their hibernation phase while food resources are still scarce. In summer and autumn, these omnivorous plantigrades do not lack food sources and hives are not among their priorities.
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The brown bear, a not difficult species
The brown bear is by far the most varied species of bear. Depending on the region where it is located, whether in Eurasia or North America, it does not have access to the same resources and will therefore have a rather different diet, but it will taste more or less everything it finds, and will feast on plants, meat, fish, eggs or insects indiscriminately in order to build up important fat reserves for the winter.
Brown and black bears are not great hunters, however, and plants make up 90% of their diet. They are able to defeat a hundred different species of mammals, from the smallest rodents to huge bison, but rarely hunt them. The majority of the meat they eat comes from carrion. In coastal areas and near some rivers, however, bears are excellent fishermen and catch salmon leaping into streams when they return to their breeding grounds in summer and early fall. More than 200 species of plants finally make up the majority of their diet, roots and young shoots that they dig up with their long claws and powerful legs, but also fruits and berries of all kinds, which they love. However, these foods are not very nutritious and must be consumed in impressive quantities: it is estimated that a small bear must swallow about 30,000 berries a day to survive if it is its only food source.
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