Food caching by bears: A literature review and new observations for Asiatic and American black bears

Maximilian L. Allen, Heiko U. Wittmer, Akino Ingaki, Koji Yamazaki, Shinsuke Koike

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Food caching is a common behavior for many mammals, but less is known about the prevalence and importance of food caching for some species. Here we report the first documented caching events by Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus, n = 5) in Japan and 3 additional caching events by American black bears (U. americanus) in California, USA. We also performed a systematic literature review on caching by bears as a reference point for future investigations. Caching was most frequently reported for brown bears (U. arctos), and most caching by bears occurred with large prey. Caching is most likely used to protect large carcasses from spoiling or detection by scavengers, allowing bears to consume more of the carcass. The lack of published studies on caching by bears may be due to the behavior being infrequently used and difficult to record. We encourage an increase, but also consistency, in future reporting, including specific descriptions of caching behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00008.1
Issue number32e10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • American black bear
  • Asiatic black bear
  • cannibalism
  • food caching
  • foraging strategies
  • scavenging
  • Ursus americanus
  • Ursus thibetanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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