From a very early age, we’ve all had some kind of contact with bears. From playtime teddy bears to storybooks and television, they’re often portrayed as gentle, lovable creatures.
In reality though, they’re some of the fiercest animals out there. But even among them, which bear is the strongest? Which one has outmuscled the rest in a fight to the top?
Which Bear Is the Strongest?
One of the main reasons why bears are built the way they are is for survival. Their large bodies, thick fur coats, and sharp claws and teeth help them to defend themselves against predators and catch prey. Despite this general build, there are some key differences that help determine the strongest bear species.
As cute as they are, this species is a formidable candidate for the strongest bear in the world. Scientifically known as Ursus maritimus, they’re normally found in the Arctic Circle near Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway. They’re the largest land carnivore in the world, with males averaging around 1.500 pounds and females around 600 pounds.
They can grow up to a whopping eleven feet in height and are proficient swimmers, often hunting for prey in the water. They’re also the only bear species that are strictly carnivorous, subsisting mainly on a diet of seals.
The way they’re built also makes them formidable predators. Their long jaws and necks allow them to deliver a powerful bite of 1.235 PSI, while their big front paws are perfect for swiping and dragging down prey. Their thick fur coat also helps to insulate them against the cold weather and prevent injuries.
Unfortunately, climate change and industrial emissions have pushed polar bears to become an endangered species. The loss of sea ice has made it harder for them to find food, and they’re often forced to compete with humans for resources.
Grizzly bears, or Ursus arctos horribilis, are found in North America, primarily in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Despite their Latin name, which means ‘horrible bear’, they’re not nearly as monstrous in terms of appearance as they are in strength.
Their average weight rounds out to about 600 pounds for females and 800 pounds for males. They’re also a bit shorter than polar bears, measuring around nine feet in length.
But what they lack in size, they make up for in power. Their large paws are armed with long claws that can reach up to four inches in length and lift an astonishing 1.100 pounds should they need to. They also have a very strong sense of smell, which helps them to track down prey.
They’re omnivores, so their diet consists of both plants and animals. They mainly eat roots, berries, and leaves, but they’re also known to hunt for elk, deer, and caribou. Their bite force is also incredibly strong, at around 1.200 PSI, making them some of the strongest bears in the world.
This next one is often considered to be a subspecies of the grizzly bear, but it’s distinct enough to warrant its own spot on this list. The Ursus arctos middendorffi is found in the Kodiak Archipelago in Alaska, which is how it got its name.
In terms of their size and weight, they sit somewhere in the middle of grizzly and polar bears. They can be anywhere from 250 to 800 pounds and reach over ten feet in height.
Even though they might not be the biggest, they’re still some of the strongest bears out there. Their large claws can measure up to four and a half inches in length, and their bite force is around 1.100 PSI.
They normally feed on plants and berries, but they can also eat fish, moose, deer, and caribou. Their sense of smell is also acute, which helps them to track down prey over long distances.
Kamchatka Brown Bears
Typically regarded as the predecessor to the Kodiac bear, the Ursus arctos beringianus is found in Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It’s also been known to inhabit parts of Mongolia, China, and North Korea.
In terms of appearance, they look very similar to grizzly bears. They have a light brown or blonde coat and can be anywhere from 500 to 800 pounds. Males are usually on the heavier end of that spectrum, while females tend to be closer to the 500-pound mark.
Their height ranges from five to nine feet depending on the specific bear. Their claws can also grow up to four and a half inches in length, and their bite force is around 1.050 PSI, easily ranking among the strongest bears out there.
They’re mainly herbivores, but they have been known to eat the occasional fish or small mammal. They normally stick to a diet of plants and berries, but they will hunt if necessary. Human interactions with these bears are relatively rare, boiling down to less than 1%, as they tend to shy away from people.
Ussuri Brown Bears
The Ussuri brown bear is found in Ussuri krai and Amur Oblast, which are located in Russia. They’re also found in parts of North Korea and China. In terms of appearance, they look similar to grizzly bears, with slight differences in the shape of their skull and forehead.
The Ursus arctos lasiotus range in weight from 800 and 1200 pounds, with males usually tilting the scale closer to the 1200-pound mark. They’re also relatively tall, measuring in at around nine feet in height.
Their claws have a length of four and a half inches, and their bite force is around 1.050 PSI. They’re mostly herbivores, but they will eat the occasional fish or small mammals if necessary. Their diet mainly consists of plants and berries.
They’re generally thought of as solitary animals, but they have been known to form small groups of up to five bears. When they do become a part of a group, it’s usually a mother and her cubs.
American Black Bears
Last but not least, the Ursus americanus rounds off the list of strongest bears in the world. Despite being one of the tiniest bears in the world, they’re still incredibly strong. They’re found in North America, specifically in parts of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Their sharp claws have a length of two and a half to four inches, and their bite force is around 650 PSI. They’re mostly vegetarians, feeding on a diet of plants, fruits, and nuts. But they can sink their teeth into a random deer or fish every now and then.
In terms of their weight, they range from 200 to 600 pounds. Their height also varies depending on the specific predator, but they typically grow to be five to six feet tall.
Their non-aggressive and introverted nature makes them one of the least dangerous bears out there. But even though human encounters are rare, they can still pose a threat if they’re provoked into engaging in a bear attack.
There you have it – the answer to the question of ‘Which bear is the strongest?’. As much as we might want to crown one specific bear as the ultimate predator of its kind, the truth is that they’re all incredibly strong in their own ways.
Each bear has its own unique set of skills and attributes that help it to survive in its natural habitat. They’re equally impressive in their own right, which is where the beauty of the animal kingdom lies.