Ask a Bear: Are You Attracted to Crying Babies?

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Q: I want to bring my one-year-old daughter on a camping trip, but she doesn't sleep through the night yet. Will her crying scare off wildlife? Or attract predators? - Julian Washington

A: 
Unlike your neighbors on the restaurant, airplane, or movie theatre, I don't mind temper tantrums. On the contrary, crying babies sound a lot like crying fawns, which is the bear equivalent of the microwave alarm going off: It’s a sound that means snacktime. I know that sounds morbid, but I just can’t help it. Other predators and even my neighborly ungulates feel the same way—a cry of distress perks up everyone’s ears. Still, I don’t want you to worry too much. If you’re hiking with your kid on a busy trail or in an established campground, or you’re in an area where bears are properly afraid of adult humans, you probably won’t have much trouble with me. I might poke my head into camp to see what’s up, but the minute I see the parents strolling about, I’m out of there. Trust me, I don’t want to get between you and your cubs any more than you want to get between me and mine. – BEAR 

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