Can You Have a Bear as a Pet? What You Need To Know!

Bears are one of the most popular animals in the world. They can be found in many different habitats, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But can you have a bear as a pet and is it a good idea? In this blog post, we will provide you with answers and some extra fun facts on these polarizing animals!

Let’s dive in!

Can You Have a Bear as a Pet?

The short answer is – no! Bears are wild, unpredictable animals and they pose a danger to you and your loved ones. They are not domesticated animals, but are dangerous predators, which is why the United States prohibits you from keeping them as pets

None of the eight remaining bear breeds are intended to be kept in a family home. While some can be aggressive and others are much more chilled out, they still have a massive weight and can easily injure you or even kill you!

Furthermore, bears can live up a lot of years, somewhere between 20 and 30 years on average, which makes it a very big commitment. On top of that, even the smallest bear will be in need of a big enclosure and a good shelter.

So even if you put aside the bear’s temperament and the dangers that come with it, this will still be a difficult situation to manage. So we highly recommend you to find another animal that is more suited for a domestic environment.

Note: Can you keep a bear as a pet? If you still aren’t aware of the dangers surrounding these fascinating predators, read these detailed bear attack statistics.

Can You Own a Bear?

It really depends on the country you’re coming from. However, you can be sure that most countries don’t condone people owning bears. 

  • USA – You cannot own any wild animal as your pet in the United States. However, you’ll be able to get a bear with a special permit in Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
  • UK – The UK’s law prohibits citizens from owning a pet bear, or any other wild animal, without a license.
  • Russia – You can buy a brown bear for 50,000-100,000 rubles ($700-1500) without a permit, since it is not considered an endangered species. 

If you insist on getting a special permit to own a bear, you have to keep in mind that it will be very expensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, authorities will have to check your home to see if you are capable of giving proper care to this wild animal. 

Related article: Which Bear Is The Strongest? 

Is There Anything Else That You Should Know About Owning a Bear?

Still wondering ‘Can bears be pets’? Taking care of a bear might put a strain on your financial security. For example, a brown bear needs up to 90 pounds of food, and not everyone is able to afford that. Certain foods will also be hard to store, fish being a great example. 

Veterinary care is essential, but it will be difficult to find a good vet with proper expertise in the species you own. Most vets with bear experience work in the zoo or wildlife sanctuaries, so it will be hard to treat your bear with medical assistance.

Note: If you’re interested in finding out how much a bear weighs, read this article!

Can Bears Be Domesticated?

Animal trainers can help bears become more comfortable with humans, but they cannot domesticate them. Even if they are raised from birth, their wild instincts will still remain. Why does this happen? Well, according to Jared Diamond, an important UCLA professor, there are six criteria that determine why mammals are impossible to domesticate:

  • Diverse appetite
  • Rapid Maturation
  • Willingness to breed in captivity
  • Docility
  • Strong nerves
  • Conformity to social hierarchy

In order to be able to be tamed, an animal has to have all six of these criteria. While bears can check a few off the list, they still won’t be able to fully adapt to a domesticated life


Whether you can or cannot own a bear really depends on the country that you’re coming from. For instance, in Russia you can buy a brown bear without any type of special permission. However, that isn’t the case for other countries like the US or the UK. 

How to get a pet bear?

Bear cubs aren’t sold in pet shops, unlike puppies, cats or other domesticated animals. You can buy one on the black market, but it’s really neither a safe nor responsible way of handling things. Always contact a local rehabber and get yourself a permit before deciding to act out on anything.

Do bears make good pets?

Bears are not domesticated animals that you can simply adopt and take care of in your home. Not only is it dangerous, but it is also very time-consuming and expensive. So in no way do we recommend you to buy a baby bear cub. 

How much do bears cost?

Baby bears usually cost somewhere between $1000 and $3000, while buying an older bear can be a bit more affordable with a price ranging from $1,500 to $2,000. It’s important to note that the high prices come with a lot of extra expenses, so make sure you give it much thought before purchasing a bear. 


Can you have a bear as a pet? While it is technically possible, it is not recommended. Bears are wild animals and should be respected as such. If you are looking for a cuddly pet, there are plenty of other options out there that don’t come with scary jaws!

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