How superior is a bear’s sense of smell?

One of the finest noses in the animal kingdom belongs to the bear.

An average dog has a sense of smell 100 times better than a humans. The bloodhound has got a next level sniffer with sensitivity 300 times that of humans. Keeping that in mind, black bears out rank the competition by having a nose that can smell 7 times better than the bloodhound. That means a black bear can smell 2,100 times better than your fellow humans!

This incredible development allows them to smell food up to 20 miles away! Their sophisticated nose is mirrored by the part of their brain associated with smell, the olfactory bulb, which is 5 times larger than in humans.

Black bears’ noses actually have hundreds of tiny muscles. They can move their nose with the same dexterity as a human finger!

Though their sense of smell may be highly developed, black bears are believed to be near-sighted, most likely due to how they go about foraging close-up for food. They are able to see in color and have good peripheral vision. Black bears stand on their hind legs to grab a better view or catch scent blowing in the wind. Though it may appear aggressive, they are just trying to be gather information about their surroundings.

Now you know the next time you camp at Lake Tahoe it’s best not to question if a black bear can smell the food you’ve packed away inside the car, because he most certainly can!

Lisa Wooden

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