What Do You Do If You Encounter A Bear?!

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What Do You Do If You Encounter A Bear?!

The wilderness can be a dangerous place for even the most experienced survivalists, like the contestants on the HISTORY® program "Alone." Throw bears into the mix of elements to deal with, and the challenge just became that much more difficult. Contrary to what you may think, different strategies are better suited for encountering different bears. For example, you should never try to run from a grizzly bear as they are much faster than you, and you should never try to climb a tree to get away from a black bear. You should play dead if near a grizzly bear, and stay in fetal position for at least 20 minutes. The playing dead tactic wouldn't work as well with a black bear. When encountering a polar bear, all you can really do is hope for the best: running, playing dead, and acting like a predator could all turn the bear on you.

07:29

from AWE me

Key Facts to Know

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    From the 1950s-'80s, there were wrestling leagues that held human versus bear wrestling matches. 0:47

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    Bears have a very strong sense of smell, and can pick up sweat or food stains on your clothing. 2:40

  • 3

    Bears can run up to 40 mph. 3:44

Meet The Real Bear That Inspired Winnie The Pooh

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Meet The Real Bear That Inspired Winnie The Pooh

The beloved cartoon bear known as Winnie the Pooh has some surprising ties to the real world. The character was based on a real female bear cub that was named Winnie after the Canadian city of Winnipeg. During World War I, Harry Colebourn, a British soldier living in Canada, purchased Winnie at a train station from the hunter who killed her mother. Colebourn, who had graduated from veterinary college, named the cub, and kept her as a pet while training. Eventually, Colebourn found Winnie a home at the London Zoo while he fought the war. When A. A. Milne began writing "Winnie the Pooh," he based the title character after his son Christopher Robin's favorite zoo animal, Winnie. The rest of the characters in the stories were based on Christopher's stuffed animals. Learn more about the real-life Winnie, and the characters he inspired, in the video below.

Wojtek: The WWII Brown Bear Soldier

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Wojtek: The WWII Brown Bear Soldier

Legend has it, a group of Polish soldiers in World War II came across an Iranian boy who gave them a Syrian brown bear orphan cub in exchange for food. Whether or not that part is true, the bear joined the group and was named Wojtek-which means "he who enjoys war" or "smiling warrior." Wojtek was an official member of the Polish army, and even helped in battles on the front lines.

06:13

Key Facts to Know

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    During WWII, a brown bear became an official member of the 22nd Transport Company, Artillery Division, Polish II Corp. 1:23

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    Wojtek, the bear member of the Polish army in WWII, enjoyed beer, and eating and smoking cigarettes. 1:56

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    After fighting in WWII, Wojtek, the bear member of the Polish army in WWII, was put in an Edinburgh zoo. 5:14

The Deadly Animals Lurking In Freshwater

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The Deadly Animals Lurking In Freshwater

Though the ocean is home to many dangerous predators, freshwater spots are as well. The brown bear races after its prey at speeds up to 48 km/h before launching onto it and devouring it. The smooth-coated otter of India has supreme agility in the water, and travels as much as 12 km every day. This deceptively cute otter is a ferocious predator with strong jaws that tear apart fish.

02:14

Key Facts to Know

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    Brown bears can run at speeds up to 48 km/h. 0:26

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    Giant salamanders absorb oxygen through their skin to stay underwater longer. 0:48

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    Piranhas can sense a prey's vibration. 1:37

The Norwegian Island Where You Must Carry A Rifle

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The Norwegian Island Where You Must Carry A Rifle

Any time you leave a settlement in Svalbard, the law requires you to have a rifle for self-defense against polar bears. This region sits between Norway and the North Pole, and is a sought-after destination by adventurers. There are an estimated 3,600 polar bears on the Svalbard archipelago, and they are seriously dangerous to human visitors.

01:52

from Tom Scott

Key Facts to Know

  • 1

    Polar bears are a serious and lethal threat in Svalbard, Norway. 0:19

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    Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago that legally requires people to carry rifles. 0:37

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    Any group traveling outside the main settlements of Svalbard must carry at least one rifle. 0:58