Table of Contents
Wow! These bears are huge! Don’t be fooled by the teddy bears you had as a kid. Some may look nice and cuddly, but these big furry creatures definitely aren’t. Keep your distance, especially if you encounter one in the wild. Most of us will generally only see them at zoos though, and these largest bear species of the world are definitely worth visiting. You probably won’t find all the bears in all the zoos; your best chance of seeing some might be in its native country.
10. Sloth bear
The sloth bear is a nocturnal insect-eating bear native to the Indian subcontinent. It has a lower lip designed to suck in bugs, as well as longer fur. They are just as lanky as the Asian black bear and have white claws with bulbous noses and pale muzzles. They weigh up to 290 pounds and can be up to 6 feet tall.
9. Asian black bear
Asian black bears are widely distributed in mountainous regions of Asia. They’re found in Taiwan, northeastern China, the Russian Far East, northern India and Eurasia’s other countries. With their medium size, they’re not too big and not too small–average about 300 pounds and about 6 feet tall.
8. Spectacled bear
The spectacled bear got its name because the rings around its eyes make it look like it is wearing eye glasses. Spectacled bears live in scattered populations around South America, with the closest population being from the Andes mountains. They are a medium-sized bear, with the males weighing 300 pounds or more. The denser fur on this omnivorous animal is generally black, but can also be brown and reddish colors.
7. American black bear
The American black bear is the smallest North American bear species, but it’s most commonly found in areas ranging from Alaska to Florida and from California to Canada. They live in forested areas and have learned to open screw-top jars. They are scavengers of garbage dumpers, perhaps learning that skill from humans themselves. The American black bear evolved from the sun bear thousands of years ago.
6. Eurasian brown bear
The Eurasian brown bear also goes by the name European brown bear, but it can be found in the mountainous regions of northern Europe as far south as the Pyrenees. The largest population can be found in the Siberian forests. Ancient Romans thought the bears were so great that they watched them fight in arenas. The brown bear sports long shaggy hair in various shades of brown, and was named after an ancient constellation called Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
5. Grizzly bear
Bears are terrifying and huge, standing more than six feet tall. All grizzlies have a distinctive hump on their shoulders. There’s no denying it – they look ferocious, striking fear into anyone who happens to spot one. Grizzlies also come in all kinds of colors and they come in varying degrees of intensity.
4. Ussuri brown bear
The Ussuri brown bear is one of the largest brown bears around. They’re indigenous to Russia northeast Asia, and are also known as black grizzlies or the black grizzly bear. They’re found in northeast China where they face hunting for body parts, but they’re considered national monuments in North Korea. They’ve been known to attack and even kill humans, while male brown bears can sometimes be caught by Siberian tigers and turned into a meal themselves.
3. Kamchatka brown bear
The giant bear found in the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka brown bear, is found in countries such as Russia and Alaska. It’s a large mammal that’s sometimes over 9 feet tall and weighs around 1,500 pounds. The Kamchatka brown bear is thought to be the ancestor of the Kodiak Bear. At any time of year they can eat berries, nuts and fish caught themselves or other animals. However, humans rarely fall victim to these carnivorous creatures.
2. Kodiak bear
The Kodiak bear is the largest brown bear in the world. They can weigh 1,500 pounds and are almost 10 feet tall when standing upright, despite eating the same foods as other brown bears. The Kodiak bear usually has a brown coat, but it can also be golden; their young have a white ring around their necks for a few years. And yes, they do indeed attack humans, though humans are more likely to attack them.
1. Polar bear
The polar bear is the largest species of bear in the world, and they’re slightly bigger than the Kodiak Bear. The polar bear lives primarily north of the Arctic Circle, where they have adapted to live in their frozen habitat. They are born on land but spend most of their time on sea ice, with seals making up the bulk of their diet. Due to climate change, they’re considered a vulnerable species.