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Jamie founded Listverse due to an insatiable desire to share fascinating, obscure, and bizarre facts. He has been a guest speaker on numerous national radio and television stations and is a five time published author.More About Us
Ten Tales of Bears… Not Beers
Full disclosure—my husband claims that I don’t listen to him. He’ll assert he’s told me something when I have absolutely no recollection of it whatsoever. Zero. Nada. Zilch. It reached such a point that I even went to the doctor and had my hearing tested. My doctor informed me that despite my advancing years and love of hard rock, my hearing is just fine. It turns out that I am indeed selectively deaf to my husband.
So perhaps it should come as not too much of a surprise that when he challenged me to come up with a list for Listverse about beers, here is the resulting list about bears. Close, but not quite. Enjoy!
10 Teenage Bear Trippin’ On Hallucinogenic Honey
The Turkish Kaçkar mountains near the Black Sea and the foothills of the Himalayas are the only locations in the world where an indigenous species of rhododendron plant produces a potent hallucinogenic neurotoxin called grayanotoxin. When bees feed on the rhododendron flower nectar, they produce a bitter-tasting, murky-looking, reddish-hued honey called “deli bal” in Turkish, which translates as “mad honey.”
Produced in relatively small quantities by local beekeepers, mad honey is a traditional cure used to treat a wide range of conditions, including high blood pressure and impotence. Even a small amount, either eaten by itself or mixed into hot water or warm milk, can trigger mild hallucinations and a warm and fuzzy sense of euphoria.
Of course, too much of a good thing is not without risk, and in Turkey, dozens of people are hospitalized annually, suffering from the after-effects of over-indulging on mad honey. Symptoms of an OD on the trippy sweet stuff include nausea, seizures, and heart arrhythmia; occasionally, it can prove fatal.
In early August 2022, authorities from the Turkish Agricultural Ministry rescued a young brown bear cub, who had been found disorientated and intoxicated from an apparent over-indulgence of mad honey. Footage showing the bear tripping out and grizzling as it sat belly-up in the back of a pick-up truck after her rescue has gone viral. The young bear was taken to a vet, where it was kept under observation for several days before being released back into the wild, none the worse for the experience.
9 Bears Munch on a Wealthy Couple and a Sports Star
On July 16, 2022, after taking off in less than ideal flying conditions, with low cloud and limited visibility, a helicopter being flown by former Russian world junior biathlon champion Igor Malinovsky disappeared. Also on board the private tourist flight were a wealthy business couple, Zoya Kaygorodova and Sergey Kolesnyak.
The next day, rescuers located the burnt-out helicopter debris on the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia, an area renowned for its spectacular scenery and population of brown bears. The bodies of the three on board (or, more accurately, parts of them) were later found some distance away from the wreckage, mauled and partially eaten by the brown bears inhabiting the remote region. “The remains of dead tourists after the crash of a Robinson helicopter in Kamchatka were dragged away by bears,” Russian channel 5TV reported, later describing their bodies as being “tormented by animals.”
The Kamchatka Peninsula has one of the highest densities of brown bears on the planet, with an estimated population of between 10,000 to 14,000 bears inhabiting an area approximately the size of the state of California. While brown bears are one of the largest species of bear, with a grown male weighing around 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), they typically eat leaves and berries, salmon, insects, and small mammals, not usually tourists.
Authorities have theorized that some of the local bears opportunistically sifted through the charred wreckage of the helicopter to scavenge the remains of the unlucky trio. It’s unclear whether or not any of them were still alive when they were dragged away.
8 Andy and the Bears
Scandal-plagued Prince Andrew has kept a relatively low public profile following accusations of gross misconduct and sexual abuse linked to his longstanding friendship with convicted billionaire pedophile, the late Jeffrey Epstein. However, earlier this year, it emerged that the shady royal has more wholesome bedfellows these days, in the form of a collection of dozens of teddy bears.
The grand old Duke of York apparently “absolutely loves” his collection of 72 bears, with former Buckingham Palace maid Charlotte Briggs revealing that the bear-wrangling staff is given a full day of training in order to be able to properly look after the teddy bear collection. “As soon as I got the job, I was told about the teddies, and it was drilled into me how he wanted them,” Briggs explains, adding that “everything had to be just right. It was so peculiar… It was so odd. After all, he was a grown man who had served in the Falklands. But he absolutely loved the teddies and was very clear about how he wanted them arranged.”
By day, the bears, most of which are dressed in traditional sailor suits, much like the right royal former Royal Navy officer, are arranged on the prince’s bed in the same order each day, from smallest to largest. While at night, the staff has to relocate the bears from the bed to their own specific pre-allocated positions, with Andy’s two favorite bears being seated on mahogany thrones on either side of his four-poster bed.
Briggs finished working at the palace in 1997, and it is believed that the prince has somewhat scaled back his collection since then. Recalling her time with Andy and his beloved bears, she explains that it was the “most bizarre thing to be paid for.”
7 Bear Likes Condensed Milk a Little Too Much
In July 2022, a 2-year-old female polar bear seemingly pleaded with humans for help after getting a tin can stuck in its mouth. In the remote northern Russia Arctic settlement of Dikson, the bear was spotted going from house to house, desperate and hoping that someone would remove the can of condensed milk.
Cellphone footage shows a man tentatively trying to help the bear, but the can appears to be lodged too deeply in its mouth, digging into its tongue. One witness described how “the bear got so exhausted with the can, it was coming to us and sticking its tongue out… But it was impossible to help without traumatizing the bear, so people gave up.”
A specialist team from the Moscow Zoo was sent for and used a dart gun to safely tranquilize the bear. They removed the can and treated the small cuts on its tongue. “We hope that everything will be fine. We left some fish near the bear because she had been without food and water for quite a long time,” explained Svetlana Akulova, director general of Moscow Zoo.
While the bear was weak from hunger, emaciated and dehydrated, she was expected to fully recover from her unpleasant experience, being released back into the wild several days after her ordeal.
6 Bear Harbors Criminal
Eighteen-year-old Joshua Dobson found himself being sought by police for auto theft and driving offenses in August 2022. These included driving while disqualified and not paying for fuel in said stolen car.
Officers from the Greater Manchester Police were searching for the man in a house in Rochdale, England, when they noticed something unusual about a rather large teddy bear in the corner of a room. The bear was seen to be clearly breathing. “When we saw this large bear breathing during a hunt for a thief, we thought something wasn’t right… then we found our suspect stuffed inside,” they later explained in a social media post.
The criminal mastermind had indeed tried to evade detection by the police officers who were searching for him by climbing inside a large, stuffed teddy bear.
Dobson was ultimately sentenced to nine months of detention in a young offenders’ institution. A spokesperson for the police later quipped that Dobson was now “stuffed behind bars,” adding that “hopefully, he has a bearable time inside.”
5 Cali House Rumbling
A family living in picturesque Lake Tahoe, California, didn’t pay any real heed to the “odd rumbling” and “snoring-like noises” they could hear coming from beneath their floor. Their neighbors apparently couldn’t hear it, and as they were unable to identify the source of the noise, they decided to ignore it.
But when spring came around this past April, the mother bear sleeping under their house woke up, as did her four young yearling cubs. Incredibly, a total of five black bears had been hibernating under their house for the entire winter, having easily gained access through an opening in the crawl space. The family, who wish to remain anonymous, put out a call for help in removing the unwanted lodgers.
“The people in the house could no longer deny there was probably a bear under the house,” explained a spokesperson for the BEAR League, a non-profit organization that provides bear rescue services and educates the public about bears. “It was quite the scene to then watch the four yearling cubs emerge from the opening and join together on the other side of the fence to venture forth into 2022,” they added.
Black bears like these are relatively common in parts of California, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that there are approximately 25,000 to 35,000 inhabiting the state. Volunteers from the BEAR League are frequently called upon in spring to assist homeowners in safely encouraging bears to vacate properties once their hibernation is over.
4 Tea for Two
Royalists rejoiced when 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance with Paddington Bear in a comedic sketch to mark her Platinum Jubilee, celebrating her astounding 70 years on the throne.
Viewers were utterly delighted to witness the monarch sharing tea and friendly chitchat with the famous British bear to kick off the televised Platinum Party held at Windsor Palace. Unfortunately, health concerns and the physical demands of such an auspicious event meant that the Queen could not attend the event in person.
A royal spokesperson explained how “while the Queen may not be attending the concert in person, she was very keen that people understood how much it meant to her and that all those watching had a great time,” adding that “her Majesty is well known for her sense of humor, so it should be no surprise that she decided to take part in tonight’s sketch.”
In the skit, Paddington Bear shows the Queen how he keeps marmalade sandwiches under his hat, while the monarch reveals that she too keeps some in her iconic handbag. Paddington then congratulates the Queen on her 70-year reign, saying: “Happy Jubilee, ma’am. And thank you for everything.” To which the Queen replies, “That’s very kind.” The humorous appearance ends with the Queen and Paddington using spoons to tap out the beat to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” on royal china teacups, fading into the rockers starting the musical performances of the celebration.
3 Hairy Porch Pirate
Toilet paper was one of the must-haves during the height of the pandemic-driven shopping panic. Supermarket shelves were cleared out, and unscrupulous folks were selling toilet paper at exorbitant prices, trying to capitalize on the insanity. In Aug 2021, an Amazon package containing toilet paper was snatched by an opportunistic porch pirate—but in this case, it was a bear.
“Amazon had dropped off the packages maybe five minutes before, and I got the alert on my security camera, and then I got a second alert five minutes later,” explained homeowner Kirstin Levine. Surveillance footage revealed a black bear stealing the package off the porch of her Connecticut home and moseying casually back down her driveway. “It was hysterical… I knew nothing in there was going to be irreplaceable, so it was a fun afternoon for sure,” she added.
The pilfered package was later found in a neighbor’s yard, a little battered and bent, but ultimately none the worse for the experience.
2 Bear Bling
The most expensive teddy bear in existence was made by German toy manufacturer Steiff in collaboration with iconic fashion brand Louis Vuitton. The one-of-a-kind item sold at a charity auction held by Christie’s in Monaco in 2000 for a whopping 2.1 million dollars.
Steiff teddy bears have been around for an impressive 120 years, with the first teddy bear being exhibited at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903. The toy company itself was started way back in 1880. An upmarket toy brand, a 14-inch (35-centimeter) tall limited edition Steiff bear could set you back $US 285, while a single 4.8-inch (12-centimeter) teddy bear Christmas ornament sells for $US 121. (Side note: The majority of Prince Andrew’s collection are apparently Steiff bears.)
The insanely expensive 17-inch (45-centimeter) tall Steiff Louis Vuitton teddy bear reportedly has eyes made of sapphires and diamonds and is made with fabric inlaid with gold. The blinged-up bear was bought by Korean collector Jessie Kim. It is currently the Guinness World Record holder for the most expensive teddy bear and is on display at the Teddy Bear Museum in the Korean city of Jeju.
1 The Internet Loses It Over a Sleeping “Blue” Bear
When 45-year-old Clueless actress Alicia Silverstone revealed during a recent podcast that she is still sleeping in the same bed as her 11-year-old son Bear Blu, people were aghast, and they made their thoughts known all over the internet.
Clinical psychologist and best-selling author of three parenting books, Dr. Laura Markham, was highly critical of Silverstone, describing the practice of prolonged attachment parenting as being “irresponsible.” She warned that Blue Bear was likely to develop serious boundary issues as a result and be subjected to bullying due to what many consider a bizarre practice.
These sentiments were echoed by parenting expert and psychologist Reena Patel, who commented that “when a child begins to question the difference in genders, hits puberty, and or starts to show discomfort is when to stop. It can be as early as five years of age.”
Silverstone, who also caused consternation several years ago when she revealed that she would chew her son’s food before transferring it directly into his mouth from her own, joked that she knew that she would incur the wrath of mom-shamers all over the globe for her rather unique ‘natural’ parenting practices. However, she asserted that at this point in her life, she simply didn’t care what they thought.