Bears Don't Want to Eat Menstruating Women

At least, no more than they want to eat anything else
Staff Writer

Remember this Anchorman clip? The one where Brick—the notorious idiot out of a group of idiots—tells his colleagues that “he read somewhere that their [women’s] periods attract bears.” Well, he probably did read that somewhere, as the rumor’s been making the rounds in the real world since 1967, thanks to two menstruating women who were each, independently, fatally attacked in Glacier National Park on the same night.

While most experts have dismissed this idea all along, the question, “Are bears really attracted to menstruating women?” is one that has more than 150,000 answers on Google, insinuating that a fair number of ladies have probably skipped out on time in the wild thanks to their time of the month.

Luckily, a recent Yellowstone National Park report has put this issue to rest once and for all. Its conclusion: Bears are not attracted to menstruating women. Repeat: Bears are not more likely to eat you while you're on your period.*

The paper, written by Yellowstone’s park bear management biologist Kerry A. Gunther, cites several studies from the past 30 years that detail the black bear and grizzly bear’s nonchalance toward menstrual blood, specifically. Researchers have used tactics that include presenting bears with used tampons as well as "presenting" bears with menstruating women (in several stages of their flow, for those interested). In each case, bears simply couldn’t tell or did not care. Gunther also broke down some stats and attacks, and again found no connection.

But here’s the thing: It’s really tough to prove that something doesn’t exist (think: we haven’t found aliens, per se, but you can’t prove that they’re not out there). And for this reason, the NPS does cover their tracks by providing a few extra safety precautions:

  • Opt for tampons over pads. Just in case
  • Skip scented hygiene products. Bears like smells in general, and you don’t need your tampon putting off more of them.
  • Don't bury anything used. The bears might dig them up for lunch and like them a little too much.

Now, women of the world, I implore you: Go forth into the wilderness proudly, valiantly and at any time of the month, knowing that your lady bits won’t lure a big, hairy animal to your tent (that is, aside from your boyfriend).

*In one study, polar bears were more attracted to menstrual blood than regular blood. But are you in the Arctic? That’s what we thought.

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