A bear's sense of smell is said to be even better developed than a dog's. Like most large-muzzled carnivores, bears rely on their sense of smell more than any other. Their large muzzles have a huge inner surface area covered tens of millions of olfactory nerves.
These are just a collection of my thoughts, they can't be proven scientifically, but I imagine that to have such an immensely sensitive nose as a bear, a sense of smell must be to them almost like touch is to us, a smell would be so powerful it would feel almost like a fluid flowing through your nose. From a distance you could know just about everything you need to know about someone or something you're curious about through smell, like being able to touch and feel something at a distance.
Imagine if we perceived our world mainly through smell like bears and most other carnivores- what would things be like? It is possible we could have developed a written language in scent, or any other visual or audio media we are familiar with might be instead in the form of some sort of complex array of scents. Most carnivores are smell-oriented animals, and they experience their world differently than we do, through their noses.
Bears, like dogs, have superior hearing that is very sensitive, especially to high-pitched sounds. Their ears are almost periscopic, able to rotate and focus on different sounds. They are unique among carnivores in that they have rounded, mouse like ears instead of triangular shaped ears that most of their procyonid and canid cousins have.
A few more notes on their ears, most people don't realize that a bear's ears are actually an effective way to recognize a bear's emotions and thoughts! Unlike primates like humans, bears do not have expressive faces like ours. Bears instead have more subtle expressive displays, in the movement of their ears and the position of their head. If a bear's ears are pointing forward, the bear is usually at ease, and may feel curious or playful about something or someone. However, if a bear's ears are pointing back and are flattened against the head, this often means that the bear may feel miffed or annoyed, or even angry and aggressive.
Contrary to popular belief, bears can see in full color, and have binocular vision that allows them to judge distance accurately. They are not myopic, or nearsighted, but have binocular vision that allows them to judge distance accurately. Their eyesight is about as keen as ours. Even as large as most bears are, their eyeballs are smaller in size than ours. Bears have the largest body size in comparison to eye size of any land mammal, and yet this doesn't seem to affect their vision in any negative way.
Little is known about a bear's sense of touch, but their paws can very dexterously manipulate a wide range of objects, from lifting huge boulders to picking tiny berries off a branch with their claws, and bears often touch their noses, lips and tongue up to objects to feel them. These areas are sensitive areas of flesh, and most likely to contain many neurons. Their paws may be quite sensitive to touch too.
ABOUT US (about the organization's founders and our goals)
ABOUT BEARS (bear facts, biology, behavior, physiology, etc.)
BEARS AND HUMANS (all about bear human relations, from pre-history to today and into the future)
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? (campaigns and causes)
BEAR DISCUSSION (bear forum)
LINKS (links to other related organizations)
Your comments and questions are welcome
This site is hosted and maintained by
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org.