Black Bear Choosing Female Salmon

  • When salmon are reasonably abundant and available in streams bears often select the carcasses for certain parts.
  • Sometimes they just bite off the top of the head in order to get the very fat rich brains.
  • At other times they just select female salmon in search of their eggs.
  • Both the fish's brain material and eggs contain more nutrients than just the salmon's flesh.
  • This young black bear is obviously looking for a female chum salmon with eggs.
  • Finally the bear finds one and brings it up on the bank.
  • Notice how the bear just presses on the salmon's belly to extrude the eggs.
  • This would be less trouble than ripping the salmon open to find the eggs.
  • Why do bears sometimes just eat certain parts of a salmon?
  • Answer: The brains have more fat and other nutrients than other parts of the body which is important for the bear to build up fat for hibernation. The eggs also may be more nutritious but in this case this youngster may just like the flavor better.

Black Bear Choosing Female Salmon from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

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