Are Bears Friendly? How Dangerous Are They?

We’ve all seen Winnie The Pooh the Jungle Book with Baloo and Mowgli and learned about the importance of forming solid and lasting friendships. That’s why we might ask ourselves, are bears really friendly?

Are bears friendly?

Bears are not friendly, and it’s definitely best to avoid them, especially if fall is approaching. Food is then the number one thing on any bear’s mind right before hibernation. You can get their tolerance and respect, but you shouldn’t trust them completely.

Bears are naturally shy creatures and generally just want to stay out of people’s way. And yes, we are considered a food source if a bear is hungry enough.

Bears will even eat their own cubs to gain enough weight to last throughout winter. That being said, it’s important to note that many encounters every day with bears do not result in death or injury.

Bears are wild animals and very dangerous animals, and they’ll never really see humans as someone who is their friend, at least not in the way how we define friendship.

Bears will tolerate their carers, but that will not stop them from attacking you because they feel moody.

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Even people that have raised bears since they were cubs have been killed and injured. And not always because the bear was trying to harm either, but because a bear is built with long claws and is an incredibly strong animal.

All it takes is for the bear to have a bad day or become grumpy, and one swipe could give you a very bad day.

Are Bear Cubs Friendly?

Bear Cub
Bear Cub

Bear Cubs are curious and adventuresome but not friendly. They are also incredibly adorable, but it is not necessarily a good thing if you happen to be out in the wild and see one.

If you see bear cubs, that means their mom can’t be far behind, and mama bears are known for their fierce protectiveness over their cubs, especially mama grizzlies.

Aside from feeding accidents, this is the number one way to get attacked by a bear. So if you see one of these adorable little fluff balls, maintain eye contact and slowly walk backward to safety.

Never turn your back on a wild animal or run out of fear. It triggers their natural hunting instincts and makes you appear like food to them.

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Can You Keep A Bear As A Pet?

The short answer is yes, you can keep a bear as a pet, but you shouldn’t. They require special care and attention and can cause us (and themselves) some serious injuries, plus you are required to have special permits and animal licenses to keep them in captivity.

Even though there have been many successful attempts at raising bears since they were little cubs, I would like to point out that there have also been some massive failures at raising bears, even from cubs.

Bears can get grumpy and upset, and there is not one bear owner that has not been bit or scratched by accident and had to be stitched up. They say it comes with the territory of raising a moody cub that misses its mama but that it’s worth it.

Eurasian Brown Bear Female and Her Playful Cubs
Eurasian Brown Bear Female and Her Playful Cubs

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The risk is great that other pets could become lunch or that a bear could escape and either hurt someone else or themselves. 35% of bear owners have been seriously maimed or killed, and in most of those cases, the bear wasn’t even trying to attack.

They were just warning that they wanted to be left alone or were hungry and took feeding time too far.

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How Do You Survive A Bear Attack?

According to National Geographic, it’s a good idea to know your bears first. They say a black bear or brown bear is easier to scare away with loud noises and bear spray, which effectively deterred a bear attack 80% of the time.

A grizzly bear is different, and with one of them, you never want to engage if you can help it. Keep your eyes on the bear while slowly moving backward.

Sometimes it’s good to even talk to them while you’re walking to help calm them. Bear attacks happen when they are surprised or within ten feet of distance between you and the bear.

Sometimes it could be a mama bear, and if that is the case and nothing stops the bear from attacking, it’s time to play dead laying face down with your hands linked and locked behind your neck, staying stiff as the board.

You will be bruised and bloody after the encounter, but you will still be alive. And that’s the goal. With black bears, they say to also curl in your legs when playing dead but not so for a grizzly bear. Just remain flat on your belly.

With a black bear, it is recommended to try and fight back some when attacked but never attempt to do that with a grizzly bear.

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RELATED QUESTIONS

Can Bears Show Affection?

Bears can show affection towards other bears. Mother bears are affectionate and will protect their young. As mothers, bears are devoted and sensitive animals that will stay with their cubs for a year and a half. Cubs usually spend the second winter with their mother in hibernation.

Even if bears are solitary creatures, they do communicate with each other by marking trees with their scent. Adult bears have even been known to mentor bears that are unrelated to them, and they can even “stick” together to show their strength if needed.

Bears make sounds similar to cats’ purring when they feel comfortable, nursing, or eating a special treat which means they are happy.

Will A Bear Eat A Human?

Humans are not usually on a bear’s menu, but man-eating bears’ attacks are possible and did happen. Under normal conditions, bears won’t feed on people, but if they feel their cubs are in danger or there isn’t any other food in sight, humans can easily become prey.

Bears that have been exposed to people may become dangerous and aggressive towards them. The most dangerous bears that will eat humans are polar bears and grizzly bears.

Polar bears are not afraid of people, and people can easily become prey. Grizzly bears have the highest record of attacking people.

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.

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