Ask A Bear: Do Bears Really Like Toothpaste

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Q: Of course I hang my food when I camp—not just to keep you out of my dinner, but also because lots of other critters would jump at the chance of eating my famous Open Fire Burritos. What I want to know is if you’re actually interested in my toothpaste and beeswax candles. I know plenty of campers who worry about such things. Am I a fool for using my toothpaste as a pillow? Are you going to bite my head off in order to be minty fresh for your hot date? —David “Preacher” Sullivan, via email


A: David, you should never underestimate the lengths I will go to in order to impress a date—and that includes going after your toothpaste. Nothing sparks my curiosity like unfamiliar or interesting smells. Toothpaste certainly falls into this category, and it doesn’t take a lot for me to get excited. (Beeswax candles could fall into this category, too, but more importantly, why are you bringing candles into the woods? What’s wrong with a headlamp/flashlight/lantern?)

Need specifics? Back in 2005, in Utah’s Rock Canyon park, I woke up two brothers when I slashed open their tent and barged in, trying to get at a toiletry bag with toothpaste in it. I made a curious swipe at one brother’s leg, and then bolted. You can imagine how much worse it might’ve turned out if I took that swipe at your head because you used toothpaste as a pillow. Lucky for you my girlfriend likes the scent of Aquafresh on my breath more than human head.


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