Are Kodiak Bears Dangerous? Do They Attack Humans?
You’d surely get the chills if you saw a Kodiak bear. Weighing up to 1,500 pounds, they’re one of the biggest land predators.
But are Kodiak bears dangerous?
They may not be as deadly as you may think. Of course, as with any other predator, Kodiak bears can be dangerous if they feel threatened or when protecting their cubs. However, Kodiaks don’t usually hunt mammals (including humans), as they primarily feed on plants and fruits rather than meat.
Keep reading to find out when a Kodiak bear may get dangerous and how to react.
Are Kodiak Bears Aggressive?
No, Kodiak bears aren’t typically aggressive, as they usually try to avoid humans and fish in areas far away from people. But, if someone gets too close to them and frightens them, they may choose violence.
Here are two different examples of encounters with Kodiak bears:
One hunter almost lost his life in 2006. First, a cub and then two more bears attacked him. This cub weighed more than 250 pounds! Luckily, the hunter was able to survive and says that he did nothing to trigger the attack. But, he had a doe that he previously shot, so this could have been a possible reason for the attack.
Usually, Kodiak bears would pay little attention to you.
A group of videographers was able to take shots of Kodiak bears at less than 35 yards. They weren’t even taking cover or hiding in the bushes. Instead, the videographers were sitting in the open, encouraged by the calmness of the bears. They were approached by Kodiak bears, who later took a nap next to them.
So not every story has a fatal ending.
Don’t approach them, don’t try to feed them, and you’ll live to tell the tale.
Do Kodiak Bears Attack Humans?
Yes, a Kodiak bear could attack a human. In fact, there’s about one serious injury caused by a Kodiak bear per year. On the other hand, there’s been only 1 death caused by a Kodiak bear attack in the last 75 years, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
In contrast, 24 deaths were caused by grizzly bears in only 15 years – from 2000 to 2015.
A large Kodiak male can be over 10 feet tall and weigh up to 1,500 pounds, whereas females are about 25% smaller. They are one of the largest land predators, so you’d expect they’re equally aggressive, but this isn’t the case.
Kodiak bears aren’t voracious carnivores. They’re omnivores, with most of their nutrition coming from plant-based food!
This means they eat a variety of foods, including plants, berries, and even grass.
Are Kodiak Bears More Dangerous Than Grizzlies?
Grizzlies are by far more dangerous than Kodiak bears.
Both Kodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) and grizzlies (Ursus arctos horribilis) are subspecies of brown bears.
So what are the differences?
Grizzly bears are more aggressive than Kodiak bears. In fact, they’re one of the most aggressive (and dangerous) bear species. Unlike their relatives, Grizzlies hunt large mammals: elk, moose, deer, and bison.
Also, grizzlies are responsible for 40 attacks on humans, of which 10% ends in fatal scenarios. On the other hand, only one death by Kodiak bear attack has occurred in the last 75 years.
Related: How Dangerous Are Grizzly Bears?
What To Do When Encountering a Kodiak Bear?
To be safe and prevent a Kodiak bear attack, you should avoid the animal’s habitat. However, if you find yourself near a Kodiak, here are the key factors that will help you stay uninjured.
- Remain calm and try not to panic.
- If the bear sees you, raise your arms and wave to appear bigger.
- Step back slowly, in a calm manner.
- Avoid eye contact, and don’t run.
- If the bear keeps moving towards you, stop and stand still.
- Repeat until you get back to a safe spot.
When visiting the Kodiak archipelago, keep your distance and stay alert.
This may seem obvious, but don’t feed the bears, no matter how friendly and calm they look.
A good idea would be to bring your bear spray with you.
You may have heard that you should play dead when encountering a bear in the wild. Slow and steady go a long way with Kodiak bears, but it’d be wise to get away from them and not lay down and wait for them to get to you.
In Summary – Are Kodiak Bears Dangerous?
All in all, the result of a possible encounter with a Kodiak bear depends on you. How prepared you are, how calm you are, how much food you carry, etc.
Kodiak bears only act aggressively to protect themselves or to get the food you’ve got. If this happens, stay calm. Wouldn’t you get scared if someone started yelling out of fear and running hysterically?
Don’t bother them, and they won’t bother you. It’s not in their nature to attack without a cause. Don’t give them one, and you’ll have a great story to tell your grandkids one day.
Thank you for reading. If you liked this article, here’s another popular topic about bears: Are Polar Bears Dangerous?