5 cool facts about bears

Posted on 06/16/2019 by Julie Cappiello

Bears have captured the attention (and hearts) of many over the years, but here are 5 facts you may not have known about these iconic animals!

1. Layers on layers

While it's easy to think of bears as fluffy cuddle monsters, there's a lot more than meets the eye!

A polar bear's coat is made up of two unique layers: The shorter coat provides insulation from weather, while the longer coat prevents water from reaching the short coat layer and skin. 

Each layer serves a unique purpose and allows bears to thrive in frigid conditions.

2. Big, strong, and fast!

Grizzly bears possess a biting force of over 1200 PSI, which is enough to crush a bowling ball, or an iron skillet.

Adult grizzly bears can run up to an incredible 40mph, which is the same pace as a greyhound, and would actually break the speed limit on many roads in the US!

Polar bears, the largest of all bear species, can weigh between 900-1500 pounds and grow approximately 6-10 feet long!

With all of these incredible physical traits, it's no wonder that bears have proven themselves to be dominant predators in the wild. 

3. Take your pick

There are eight different species of bear: North American black bears, brown bears, polar bears, Asiatic black bears, Andean bears, panda bears, sloth bears, and sun bears.

Each of these species is recognizable by their distinct size, markings and characteristics.

For example, sloth bears have those adorable rounded ears, cream colored snout, and a unique "V"  or "Y" shaped white mark on their chests.

4. One small step…

Bears can walk a short distance on their hind legs, which has led some Native Americans to refer to them as "the beasts that walk like man."

It is this ability that is cruelly exploited in cruel bear dancing, as they are able to shuffle in a way that makes it seem like they are "dancing." 

Bears typically stand on their hind legs in order to get a better view or scent of what's in front of them.  

5. High IQ

Bears are one of the most intelligent land animals in North America. They have the largest and most complex brains in comparison to other land mammals their size and they rely on this brain for a number of behaviors. 

For example, grizzly bears can remember hotspots for food even after ten years and some have even been observed covering their tracks or hiding behind rocks and trees to avoid detection by hunters. Grizzly bears have also learned to camouflage their scent by rolling around in rotting flesh in order to sneak up on prey. 

Bonus Fact: They need your help

Around the world, bears have become subject to an array of exploitation including bear circuses, bear baiting, and bear dancing.

We're working to end the abuse of wild animals used for entertainment, but we can't do it alone. 

Sign up to volunteer with us!