Are bears human friendly? [2022]


Are bears human friendly? [2022]

Table of Contents

So, are bears human friendly? In short, no – bears are some of the most dangerous animals on the planet. These solitary creatures only congregate to mate and raise their young, not to interact with humans.

Bears are incredibly smart. This can be seen in the way bears build their hierarchies, which includes tolerating and even teaching young bears who are not connected to them. Bears are solitary and reclusive creatures who would rather spend their time foraging or hunting than forming social bonds with people, despite their intelligence.

In the wild, humans should never approach bears. This could drive the animal to attack you, or it could cause it to grow extremely familiar with humans in the future, putting other people’s lives in jeopardy

Close-Up Photograph of a Grizzly Bear in the forest.

Can Bears and Humans Be Friends though?

Human-bear friendships, like those between people and dogs and other domesticated animals, are extremely rare. Domestication takes a long period and could not be accelerated by increasing bear interaction in a matter of decades.

People who are influenced by The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh may believe that bears can be trained to behave well, but this is usually not the case. Consider the very sad story of Timothy Treadwell.

Timothy Treadwell tried to live in harmony with coastal brown bears in order to show how gentle they can be. However, he was eventually murdered by a bear.

The majority of a bear’s time is spent leaping from one spot to another in search of food, which can include plants, insects, and fruits. As a result, there is likely no idea of attachment even among individuals of the same species.

Is it possible for bears to imprint themselves on humans?

Yes, bears can bond with humans, making the bear think of the human as a family member. There appears to be an emotional tie between the bear and the individual in these situations.

You can coexist with bears for a long time before one of them decides to attack you, as Timothy Treadwell learned.

Because bears haven’t been tamed to the same degree as dogs, they can’t be trusted in the same way.

As a result, even if the bear and human appear to be “friends,” it’s difficult to know how close they are, and there’s always the risk that the bear would attack without hesitation if provoked.

Videos go viral claiming to answer “are bears human friendly?” by showing a close connection between a human and the bear (see below), but they often give viewers the false impression that bear are indeed safe to be around.

Should you be Friendly with a Bear?

Rangers focus a lot of their efforts on preventing human-bear confrontations. If bears engage with humans on a regular basis and become overly friendly, there is a risk of confrontation.

Bears can be unpredictable, so even if they appear to be harmless, keep a safe distance from them and don’t tempt them by placing food crumbs on the ground.

If you remain a safe distance from bears, you can save both of your lives. Bears that are known to frequent human homes, such as those that have been fed several times by a person, may need to be relocated or put down to safeguard the safety of humans living nearby.

Are Bears Friendly with Each Other?

In contrast to humans, bears do not appear to form friendships with one another. Despite spending the most of their time alone, they appear to accept one another and even engage in lighthearted banter while mating.

We’ve mostly answered “are bears human friendly?” but what about with other bears?

The study of animal social behaviour examines how members of the same species interact. This includes having sexual interactions and fighting over territory.

Due to their genetic structure, bears have evolved to flourish in solitary surroundings. Bears will only seek out or tolerate the company of other bears during the breeding season.

Two or more bears can be caught together during the 17-month period when moms are responsible for their pups. The mother is responsible for the health, education, and upbringing of her children. She’ll also let them sleep in her bed, look after them, and snuggle with them.

Adult bears, especially when contrasted to cubs, are not particularly friendly.

For example, black bears can live in close quarters and share food and other resources. Even if they are of the same species, some bears, such as grizzly bears, will not accept the presence of other bears.

Bears, on the general, like to be alone and have little encounters with humans.

Two brown bears fighting eachother.

Is it possible for bears to understand what “friendship” means?

In terms of intelligence, Bears are exceptionally smart. They have massive, highly developed brains, however, as indicated by countless attacks on bear trainers, it’s unlikely bears have any real understanding of “friendship” as a concept.

Previously, bears had been trained to accomplish difficult tasks. This also implies that they have the ability to analyse and recall data.

However, there has been little investigation into how bears understand the concept of “friendship.”

Bears are cautious creatures who like alone. Friendship is unlikely to be understood by a species that has a significant aversion to engaging with members of its own species, if they even understand what it is.

Are grizzly bears friendly to humans?

Grizzlies might be one of the most aggressive and therefore, least friendly bear species. This does not imply that they are violent toward others on purpose. The majority of human bear assaults occur when visitors are careless and approach the bear’s cubs too closely, or when the bear is startled by an unexpected visitor.

When trying to answer “are bears human friendly?”, perhaps different bears have different preferences towards humans. First lets examine the grizzly bear.

The grizzly bear was given the moniker “Ursus arctos horribilis” by naturalist George Ord because it is one of the most unpleasant animals on the planet.

Grizzlies have a 22-year average lifespan and can grow to a maximum height of 198 centimetres at their tallest point. Depending on their exact size, these larger-than-life creatures can weigh anywhere from 290 to 790 pounds. It’s an understatement to say they’re terrifying.

Grizzlies, which are located only in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, may congregate in streams throughout the summer to spawn and feast on freshwater salmon. Unless reproduction is involved, the species prefers not to associate with other members of its own species.

The American black bear, Ursus americanus, is a North American mammal that is native to the continent. Additionally, there are approximately sixteen different subspecies of American black bears that can be found across the country. Arizona, Texas, and Utah, among others, are among these states.

Mother bears, on the other hand, are noted for their passionate protection of their offspring. They will fight against anything that they fear will put their children in risk.

Are black bears friendly to humans?

Despite the fact that black bears are unlikely to assault humans, they are not recognised for being very friendly. They would rather be alone than with others.

North American black bears are known for being territorial and preferring to live alone. They are lured to a broad array of food sources, including dumpsters, because of their highly developed sense of smell. As a result, these bears are less afraid when they are around humans.

Black bears only attack humans on rare occasions. They’re known for charging, slamming their paws on the ground, and making loud noises to scare off unwanted visitors.

Black bear photographed eating grass in canada.

Are Bear Cubs Friendly?

Bear Cubs are troublemakers who ask a lot of questions and aren’t particularly pleasant. Despite its cuteness, finding one in its natural habitat isn’t always a happy occasion.

Bear mothers, notably grizzly bear mothers, are known for fiercely guarding their cubs. If you observe bear cubs, you may be sure their mother is nearby.

Even more than unintended feeding, this is by far the most common reason for bear attacks. As a result, if you happen to come across one of these cute little fluff balls, make eye contact with it while softly backing away to protect yourself.

Because you are afraid of a wild animal, you should never escape or turn your back on it. Their natural predatory instincts are heightened, and they start to see you as a potential meal.

Brown Bear cub on some brown wood in the forest. Cute but dangerous.

Can You Keep A Bear As A Pet?

Although it is not advisable to have a bear as a pet, it is not impossible. Keeping them in captivity necessitates special permissions and animal licences, as well as specialised care and attention, because they are capable of causing significant injury not only to humans but also to themselves.

There have been numerous successful attempts to raise bears from cubs, as well as innumerable ones that have tragically failed.

There hasn’t really been a single bear owner who hasn’t been bitten or scratched by their bear at any point throughout their ownership, necessitating sutures.

There’s also a good chance the bear will consume one or more of the other pets, or the bear may break free and cause harm to themselves or others. The vast majority of bears that have harmed or killed their owners did not even try to assault them.

They were just communicating their desire to be left alone or that they were hungry by prolonging the feeding process for an unusually long period of time.

A clip from a documentary showing a pet bear. Sadly most attempts at keeping a pet bear end tragically for the owner who often gets killed, or the bear who gets put down.

In the event of a bear attack, how do you survive?

It is a good idea, according to National Geographic, to educate yourself on bears before approaching them. They argue that scaring a black or brown bear is easier than scaring other bears, and that utilising loud noises and bear spray, which has been shown to prevent bear attacks in 80% of cases, is an effective strategy.

It is best to avoid grizzly bears at all costs due to their particularly aggressive behaviour. As you make your way back, keep an eye out for the bear. It could be beneficial to talk to them while you’re walking to put them at ease. When bears are surprised or within ten feet of their victim, they are more inclined to attack.

If you can’t get away from a mother bear, lie down face down, arms folded behind your neck, and be as stiff as a board. To the bear, you will look to be dead in this position.

You will be wounded and bloodied when you emerge from this battle, but you will live. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? While dealing with black bears, curling your legs into a ball is likewise recommended, but not when dealing with grizzly bears. Simply maintain your stomach’s position.

If you are attacked by a black bear, you should fight back; but, if you are attacked by a grizzly bear, you should never fight back.

Watch the below video for a quick overview. But, the best way to survive a bear attack is to be knowledgable in their behaviours and territories to avoid the possibility of an attack in the first place.


Bears are thought to be among the smarter animals on the planet due to their intelligence, resourcefulness, and ability to adapt to their circumstances. They are reclusive, introverted, and prefer to be alone the most of the time, despite their brilliance.

True, certain bear species are friendlier to humans than others, such as the black bear in the United States. However, bears should generally never be thought of as friendly creatures.

Born in captivity, newborn cubs are more likely to get used to humans than those nurtured in the wild. But, even if a bear is accustomed to being in close proximity to humans, it is not always friendly.

Bear-human conflict is mostly caused by the degradation of bear habitat. As a result, the likelihood of bears interacting with humans and causing conflict has increased dramatically.

Bears are omnivores, although they are the top predators in their area due to their size and strength. They are stunning animals that deserve to be treated with respect and observed from a safe distance.

Found our post “Are bears human friendly?” interesting? Find more educational resources like this and all the latest science news on Scible News


Goldman, J. G. (2012, June 20). The average bear is smarter than you thought. Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from

Roos, D. (2021, May 18). 5 of history’s deadliest bear attacks. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, May 29). Grizzly Bear. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from

American black bear: National Geographic. Animals. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2022, from

Dell’Amore, C., & Wilkinson, T. (2021, May 3). How to not get attacked by a bear. Animals. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from

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