ALL About Bears in Slovakia: Where, How Many & What Kind


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In this article, we will cover the basic information regarding bears in Slovakia. Their territories, numbers and what kinds of bears you can see in Slovakia. As well as some safety tips that can potentially save your life.

Bears in Slovakia are mainly found in the central and northeastern mountainous regions of the country. According to studies from 2014, the number of bears were between 1000 and 1500. Nowadays the number is more in the range of 1200 to 2500 bears. The only kind of bear living in these regions is the Brown Bear. 

Read more to find out in detail where bears can be found, how their numbers have grown over the years and how to act if you’re unfortunate enough to meet one face to face.

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Bears in Slovakia: Where, How Many & What Kind
Bears in Slovakia: Where, How Many & What Kind

Are there bears in Slovakia?

The most common type of bear in Europe is the Brown Bear and Slovakia is no exception. Majority of its mountainous regions in the central and north-eastern part of the country are home to about 2000 bears. Despite their large numbers, bears very rarely come into contact with people.

Multiple studies and sightings have confirmed that Slovakia has a significant population of bears. These animals aren’t very confrontational unless provoked. A majority of sightings that are reported are from hikers or tourists wandering the uncharted paths in the mountains.

In some cases, bears were spotted trying to enter rubbish bins at the outskirts of villages or smaller towns. This behavior is rare, bears mostly stay up in their forests and mountains, far from humans.

Overall, your chance to come face to face with a bear is really low, they’re mostly out in the mountainous forests and rarely attack people unless they’re provoked directly.

If you’re still wondering how dangerous bears are, we have a chart of confirmed bear attacks and sightings spanning from 2013 to 2020.

Year Bear sightings Bear Attacks
201364
201485
201573
201642
201761
201852
201933
202043
Amount of reported bear sightings and attacks (source)

As seen in the chart, bear attacks are incredibly rare, so there is nothing to be afraid of. Our beautiful mountains are an amazing opportunity for hikers who want to see the gorgeous views and national cuisine.

What Kinds of Bears are in Slovakia?

Out of the 8 species of bears known in the world, Slovakia has only one kind of bear, that being the Brown Bear. This is the most widespread species of bears in the World. These bears are seen in mountainous regions. Their sightings and attacks occur very rarely.

Like most of Central Europe, Slovakia is home to Brown Bears. These are not Grizzly bears that are portrayed as ruthless killers in movies, as that is a subspecies of the Brown Bear only native to Northern America.

It is actually quite the opposite. Our bears are more calm and non confrontational.

Brown Bears in Slovakia

These animals are the largest predator you can encounter in Slovakia. Although they might seem scary at first, they are really not that much of a threat as people think. These bears don’t attack unless provoked, so if you see one in the wild, carefully get out of it’s way and don’t do anything the bear might consider as a threat.

Apart from females with cubs, bears live on their own. So you will basically never encounter a pack of bears. This makes them one of the easiest predators to avoid. Their diet also consists of mostly plants. Up to 90% of their intake is just plants alone. The rest being carcasses or animals.

Do not mistake the Brown Bears in Slovakia with a Grizzly bear. Our bears are more calm and won’t attack you. If you ever see a bear with its cubs in the forest, leave it alone and you will be fine.

Bears and most of their territories are also protected by law and are included in the SAC (Special Area of Conservation) from the European Union’s Habitat Directive.

Even with their growing numbers and mean looks, bears are rather peaceful animals roaming the mountains of Slovakia.

How many bears are in Slovakia?

There is no definitive number for the amount of bears living in Slovakia right now. What we have however, is an estimate based on a study from 2014. Population of bears has been on the rise since then and there are currently about 2000 bears in Slovakia.

Over the years, there have been many studies regarding the bear population. Most recent ones from 2014 showed that there are approximately 1200 to 2500 bears living in Slovakia. Of course, mapping a species like this is very hard, so all we have are estimates. 

Year Number of Bears (approx.)
20141486
20151639
20161810
20171947
20182149
20192371
20202618
Approximate calculation of the bear population based on the 2014 study (source)

Overall the population of Brown Bears in Slovakia is more on the rise, and changes every year. Since they’re protected by law, their numbers grow steadily. Poaching can lead to very expensive fines or land you in jail.

In recent years, there have been many arguably hyperbolized articles and news reports about bears and their dangerous numbers. In reality, unless you’re directly intruding on their territory, you would hardly know they exist. 

Where are bears in Slovakia?

Brown Bear in High Tatras
Brown Bear in High Tatras

Bears live in the majority of central Slovakia. Although the encounters are rare, you have a chance of seeing bears in the Tatras, specifically Low Tatras (Nízke Tatry), Great Fatra (Veľká Fatra) and Lesser Fatra (Malá Fatra), Slovak Ore Mountains (Slovenské Rudohorie), East Carpathians (Východné Karpaty) and more.

Bears are very solitary creatures, they don’t hunt in packs nor do they consider humans as their prey. As mentioned previously, bears only live in the mountains and forests in the central and northeast part of Slovakia. 

Due to deforestation and enlarging of cities, their habitats change and this can result in more frequent encounters in villages and towns around these areas. Even with protections in place, many people build closer and closer to the natural territories of bears. This is where a lot of sightings take place.

Hungry bears can sometimes be seen eating out of rubbish bins or roam around the streets of smaller villages. In a few cases, if the bear is unwilling to leave the village alone and comes back multiple times, it can either be sedated and transported somewhere further into the mountains or it’ll be shot. Although the latter option is rare. 

Bears are protected by law and you need special permission with a good enough reason to shoot one.

If you’re unfortunate enough to encounter a bear, the best thing you can do is leave it alone, try to slowly walk away. Bears only attack when provoked. The bear will leave you alone after a short while. 

It is a common myth that you can outrun a bear by going uphill or by climbing onto a tree, in the most dire case, choose the latter. Bears are really good at climbing trees, so be aware that it can reach you if you climb on one.

FAQ About Bears in Slovakia

Sill did not find the answer to your answers about bears in Slovakia? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

Are there Grizzly bears in Slovakia?

Grizzly bears are a subspecies of the Brown Bear. They’re also referred to as North American brown bears. They’re native to North America so there are no Grizzly bears in Slovakia. 

Are there bears in the Tatra mountains?

Bears inhabit most of the mountainous regions in Slovakia. You can find them in the Tatra mountains, specifically Low Tatras. As the bear population rises, you might encounter them in High Tatras as well.

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Conclusion

You can find one type of bear in Slovakia, the Brown Bear. It is the most widespread species in the World. These bears occupy most of the central and northeastern part of Slovakia. Their habitats are in the mountainous regions, Low and High Tatras, Greater and Lesser Fatra, Slovak Ore Mountains and more.

These creatures are not as dangerous as one might think and only rarely attack humans. Their numbers over the years have been on the rise and at the moment, there are approximately 2000 bears in Slovakia. They are protected by law and their poaching is highly illegal and can land you with a fine or subsequent jail time.

Recently there have been a few news reports regarding bears that shifted the public opinion about them. These news stories are definitely a hyperbole as even with their increased numbers, bear attacks or sightings are very rare. 

You are extremely unlikely to have an encounter with a bear as they are not confrontational, and do not see people as prey. Best thing you can do when you come face to face with one is to just back away slowly, if you don’t try to pose a threat to the bear, it will leave you alone. 

For anyone planning to visit Slovakia’s mountains, bears do not pose a threat at all. Keep on the path, and enjoy the breathtaking views, delicious meals and good beer! 

What is Slovak National Spirit? x

Jano

The Slovakian guy who loves his little big home country.

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