October 4, 2005

Bears! Quicksand!

A little info about two things you might be worrying about in your spare time:

1. Quicksand:
The force needed to pull out a person immersed in quicksand is about the same needed to lift a car.... The trick for escaping is to slowly wiggle the feet and legs, allowing water to flow in. People float in quicksand so it is also impossible to sink all the way in, but quicksand usually forms at river estuaries, so a captive could drown at high tide.
Quicksand, like lava, is a big kid fear, for some reason.

2. Bears:
Attacks can generally be divided into two groups: predatory and defensive. Each calls for a different strategy.

Black and grizzly bears are capable of both types of attack. Those involving grizzlies tend to be defensive, when the animal feels threatened, according to Stephen Herrero, a bear expert at the University of Calgary and the author of "Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance." Playing dead then lets the bear know you're not a threat and can cause it to back off.

Black bears usually flee from humans, but when they do attack the motive tends to be predatory, and playing dead doesn't work. Neither does running away, since bears are much faster than humans.
Oh, so you have to understand the bear's feelings?


Meade said...

I wonder how bears feel about quicksand. Maybe you could survive by playing stuck.

Nick said...

Of course you'd know how not dangerous quicksand really was had you been a fan of Myth Busters on the Discovery Channel. It's a great show... highly recommended.

Slocum said...

"Neither does running away, since bears are much faster than humans."

Which, of course, brings the old joke to mind, "I don't need to outrun the bear...."

Goesh said...

-you better kill that squirrel before tangling with any bears

Paul said...

I can't bear this issue of quicksand, nor can I find firm ground on the issue of bears. I intend to avoid both.

Steve Donohue said...

The fear of quicksand, at least in my generation, comes primarily from the original Mario games, where quicksand seemed to be the dominant variety of terrain in every desert area. Why, if I find myself in the desert, I myself might just be pulled under to the great unknown!

Besides from bottomless pits in the ground, quicksand was the only thing that could kill you when you had an invincability star as well. Maybe when you're young, that's kind of like a metaphor for our mortality- even with youth and what seems like immoratality, there are certain things that can kill us. Like quicksand. And endless pits.

Bruce Hayden said...

The bear advice appears to be exactly opposite what I had been taught - that Grizzlys charge for no good reason, but that Blacks charge to protect their young.

The thing is, it is the Grizzly that is at the top of the food chain (or was, until very, very, recently, when we were able to supplant him through the use of high powered rifles). When they share range, it is the Grizzly that eats the Black bear, and not the other way around.

There seem to be a lot of Black bears in the foothills west of Denver, and they almost never attack humans - except when cubs are involved. When my daugher was three, she took a bear cast to school for show-and-tell. We had one walk on the road by the house most mornings, and getting a paw cast was easy. We never saw it, just its tracks every day when we went down for the paper. I often carried a gun when out with my infant daughter - not for the black bear, but for the local mountain lion. (and that is one animal you really dont't want to run from - running animals are prey, and while we were up there, the only lion caused death was of a jogger whose running trigger the fatal attack).

rcs said...

"(Red)(squirrels) usually flee from humans, but when they do attack the motive tends to be predatory, and playing dead doesn't work. Neither does running away, since (squirrels) are much faster than humans." So just what *would* work? Maybe a quicksand feature in your living room (bonsai quicksand?) and luring behavior--perhaps an acorn suit? Just hope the squirrel doesn't know about wiggling its tiny paws to escape.

But what I'm really waiting to hear is the trick for escaping lava.

Dixie Flatline said...

And I'm reminded of the other old(?) joke:

Q: If you're walking in the woods and see a bear, how can you tell whether it's a black bear or a grizzly?

A: Pick up a big stick and hit the bear on the nose, then run away and climb a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and kills you, it's a black bear. If it knocks over the tree and then kills you, it's a grizzly.

Goesh said...

The facts as presented by Ms. Ann regarding the squirrel in her house do suggest the predatory nature of a fox squirrel at play. Note the absence of scurrying sounds and gnawing sounds at night. Only a lurking red squirrel would mask his presence like that. Note the absence of food particles, save but the one nut shell. I didn't want to mention it but surely to God she has hired a couple of pros by now to get the invader. A red squirrel if cornered damn sure won't run around in a hysterical manner - they will come straight at the threat.

HaloJonesFan said...

Squirrels, in reasonable numbers, aren't a problem. Remember--short, controlled bursts.

But what about the Sand Bears? They're pretty quick...

HaloJonesFan said...

Oh, and don't try to use submarines to defeat the bears. Submarines are the natural prey of bears.

This kind of Bear, too.

aidan maconachy said...

I love bear stories! Enjoyed yours Bruce.

I have a bear story too.

I'm up in a rural area of Canada and I'm an avid fisherman. We're close to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron here and we have nice steelhead and lake trout. You can also get speckled trout in the local creeks.

One year I drove up toward Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, and en-route pulled over at a wilderness stop. I then followed a creek for about two kilometers until I found some promising deep water near a beaver damn.

I had my waders on, so I headed into the creek and started casting. There was a sudden rustling in the bushes on the other bank and a baby black bear headed downhill toward the water. So of course I'm thinking, where there is a baby there is also a mom. Sure enough, she appeared out the bush also and headed down to edge of the creek.

When she saw me she stood up on her hind legs and made a sound that literally sent goose bumps up and down my back. I just stayed stock still, barely breathing. After a bit of weaving from side to side, and scratching on the earth around her, she grunted and took off with the cub right behind.

I didn't breath easy until the sound of breaking twigs faded away.

I had the sense that the mother was acting out a warning. STAY AWAY! I was happy to oblige.

As it happens I caught a nice speckled trout that day with a slide sinker and a floating earth worm. We had it for dinner that night with some of our garden vegetables and it was unbelievably good!

All's well that ends well.

Brad said...

Didn't the Tarzan movies or show have something to do with the quicksand anxiety of at least one generation?

Pastor_Jeff said...

Quicksand and Bears? Pshaw. What you really have to look out for are Lightning Sand and R.O.U.S.es...

mamalujo1 said...


I blogged about wild blueberries and bears in the Smoky Mountains National Park. You should see how big their crap gets!

SMGalbraith said...

Hah, and I hear some lefties say that Ann's blog is useless.

This information will definitely come in handy when I make that move to Bourkina Fasso.


Steve said...

Maybe it was a black bear that left that acorn shell in your house. Therefore, that acorn saved your life!

Jim H said...

Wow, this comment list fizzled after Ann dropped the A-bomb two posts later.

I assumed as a child that there could be quicksand in the woods near my home. That was a decade before Mario. Yes, Brad, maybe it was old Tarzan movies. But quicksand was a fairly common plot device for a while, wasn't it?