A question asked on TikTok has gone viral and it's bringing to light just how unsafe many women feel when they are alone around a man they don't know. The question asked to women was, "If you were alone in the woods, would you rather encounter a bear or a man?"



Most women answered they would rather be around a known predator that can reach up to 1000 pounds of fur and muscle. As a woman myself, I can't blame them for that answer. We've been told our entire lives to protect ourselves from strange men- to neither entice nor provoke them lest we be blamed for any harm that befalls us.

At least with a bear, we know the bear's intentions. And if we get mauled, no one will say it was our fault for how we dressed around the bear, or that we are simply lying or manipulating to get the bear into trouble, should we survive the attack.

Of course, the vast majority of men are NOT predators and do not have bad intentions. We all know this. Just as the vast majority of women have men in their lives they love and adore. But we've also internalized the warnings we've received time and again about the dangers of strangers who happen to be male.

All this led me to ask myself another hypothetical- are there any places here in Texas where I could be alone with a bear instead of a man? I did a little research and learned about bears in Texas. They are quite beautiful and amazing creatures. And that isn't to say men can't also be beautiful and amazing (I know many that are).

All native Texas bears are black bears, with two known subspecies- the Mexican Black Bear and the New Mexico Black Bear. "Black bears are omnivorous creatures that rarely pose a threat to humans, pets, or livestock." They are smaller than brown bears, and will only get up to a maximum size of 500 pounds.

There are only three Texas counties with confirmed breeding pairs of bears, and they are all close to the Southern Border. Confirmed sightings of bears have occurred in the northern panhandle, East Texas, and again as we get closer to Mexico.

Bears leave plenty of signs that they are in the area- from bear tracks, scat (which I assume is quite large), and fur on tree bark from where they (quite adorably) scratch their bodies. Bears are generally only attracted to areas with humans if said humans leave out remains of game animals or food trash.

If for some reason you do actually encounter a bear, don't panic, make yourself look as big as possible by putting your arms above your head, and back away slowly. Don't try to approach a cub as the momma is likely nearby.

Unfortunately, I don't have such easy advice if you find yourself alone in the woods with a man. I would hope that he is as friendly and kind as most of them are.

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