Does a Bear Crap in a Parking Lot?

Does a Bear Crap in a Parking Lot?

I’m not buying it. The yew tree is a poisonous plant – true. In fact the whole plant contains toxine alkaloid, ephedrine, a cyanogenic glycoside (taxiphyllin) and volatile oils except for the fleshy red part of the berry – that you can eat. But bears know better than to eat toxic plants. Otherwise, there would be dead bears lying all over the place. Plus – the seeds are only toxic if you masticate (chew them up). If they aren’t chewed up, they pass harmlessly through the gut into the stool. Plus a 300 pound bear would need to eat a massive amount of the plant and berries in order to suffer the cardiac effects that characterize taxus spp. poisoning. So what killed this family of bears? Heck if I know, but I think it is a long shot to say it was over consumption of yew twigs and berries. 



Written by Poison Boy

Gerry O'Malley (a.k.a Poison Boy) is a board certified ER doctor and toxicologist with a interest in the unusual, terrifying and occasionally hilarious world of poisonings and toxicology. This site is an exploration of poisons of historical interest as well as in current events and pop culture.

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