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I was backcountry camping recently in the Canadian Rockies and there was a sign that said “please don’t urinate around the campsite, it is attracting bears”. Of course, following LNT principles, I used the pit toilets, but it made me wonder if the sign was just to scare people into peeing where they should or if it had some truth to it.

I thought grizzlies tend to avoid people (unless food is involved) hence why you should make noise when hiking in bear territory. Are bears really attracted to human urine?

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TLDR: Yes

A bear’s sense of smell is seven times stronger than a bloodhound. If you’ve ever smelled coffee, alcohol, or yesterday’s beetroot salad in your urine, bears can smell every donut and drip of hot sauce you’ve eaten from miles away. There’s no understanding why, but bears ogle over human piss.

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Urine has salt in it, and animals know that and will lick it off rocks or tear at stumps that have been peed on to get to the salt.

Biel said the cumulative data indicated that the Logan Pass herds weren't normal.

"They're hanging their hats on available salt; urine, antifreeze, sweaty pack straps," Biel said.

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Where you pee, goats follow. An icon of Glacier National Park’s rocky and steep landscape, the mountain goat has a strong hunger for salt. This leads the furry animals to natural mineral licks and also hiking trails, in search for the salt left by human urine

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    The need for salt is typically much more pronounced in herbivores (because plants have a lower Na⁺:K⁺ ratio than animals) than in predators where it is mostly a non-issue. => I'd avoid concluding anything about bears from the fact that goat in the Rockies are salt-starved. However, that also does not mean that bears are not interested in human urine. – cbeleites Oct 19 '18 at 19:06

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