The Most Dangerous Bear in the World in 2024

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: September 21, 2023
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polar bears

What is the most dangerous bear in the world? Polar Bears are the most dangerous. However, we often don’t encounter them

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When we think of bears, we often think of aggression, pure muscle, enormous claws, and sharp teeth. And while most we might encounter are skittish and stay away from humans, others are known for being hostile. However, most wild animals are greatly misjudged. Bears do not seek to hunt humans. Most, in fact, avoid us. However, they can attack if they feel they need to defend their space or protect their cubs. And some species are easily agitated if they are surprised or feel cornered. So what is the most dangerous bear in the world? Discover the answer now, including which bear has killed the most humans and which species you can fight off.

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What is the Most Aggressive and Dangerous Bear on Earth?

Polar Bear vs Grizzly - Polar Bear

Polar bears can reach ten feet tall and weigh over 1,700 pounds

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Polar bears are the most dangerous bears in the world. These apex predators are the largest bear species on earth and they will attack and eat humans without a second thought. If you were to be attacked by a polar bear, your chances of surviving are very low. 

The largest polar bears can reach 10 feet tall and weigh more than 1700 pounds. Their claws are nearly four inches long and they have long, sharp canines and extremely sharp back molars that are specialized for sheering blubber off Arctic prey. They also have a bite force of 1,200 psi, the strongest of any other bear.

Polar bears will attack humans for the same reason other bears do, such as they feel threatened or are protecting their cubs. The only difference is that polar bears will also attack and eat humans when they are hungry. Sometimes, they may not even be that hungry but will attack anyway because food is harder to find. Polar bears will also track humans by their scent, similar to how they would a seal or other animal. Some people who live in the Arctic Circle place metal cages around their property in case there is a polar bear nearby. And if you ever plan on trekking around the wilderness in polar bear country, you will need a polar bear guard who patrols the area with a rifle.

Is the Grizzly Bear More Dangerous Than the Polar Bear?

Roaring Grizzly Bear behind bush

Believe it or not, grizzly bears are omnivores.

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While grizzly bears are dangerous, polar bears have a slight edge. For one, polar bears are bigger and have a stronger bite force. They are also more likely to attack humans on a whim. And they eat humans, even hunting them in some cases. 

But grizzly bears are also one of the most lethal creatures you can encounter in the wild. They can weigh over 900 pounds and have a bite strength of 1,000 psi. However, they do not eat humans. And they only attack if they are provoked or caught off guard. Like with polar bears, it’s best to avoid confrontations with them. Preventing an attack is easier than surviving an attack.

Which Bear Has Killed the Most Humans?

Grizzly 399 with a cub

Grizzlies kill the most humans, and this usually occurs when momma bears are defending their cubs.

©BlueBarronPhoto/Shutterstock.com

Polar bears may be the most dangerous, but they don’t account for the most attacks or fatalities. Polar bears live in remote Arctic areas, often far away from human habitations, meaning we don’t encounter them regularly. 

Grizzly bears account for the most human deaths. They kill twice as many people as the North American black bear, which is the most abundant species on the continent. Half of the attacks from grizzlies were mothers protecting their cubs. 

Which Bear Can You Fight Off?

Different bears require different reactions. Black bears are more skittish around humans and can be easily intimated. Most will run off if you yell or make a lot of noise. However, some might charge you if they are surprised. If this happens, you have the potential to fight back. But you have to give it everything you’ve got.  

Can You Survive a Grizzly Bear Attack? What About a Polar Bear?

Thankfully, you only have a one in a 2.1 million chance of being attacked by a bear. Not so thankfully, your odds of dying after being attacked by a grizzly bear is 11%. Playing dead is the best way to avoid a grizzly attack. But you might have to stand your ground and fight back if it doesn’t back off. Don’t make yourself easy prey.

The odds of being attacked by a polar bear are very low, simply for the fact that humans rarely encounter them. However, the unlucky few who have rarely survived to tell the tale. The best way to survive a polar bear attack is to prevent it from happening. Slowly back away, shedding some clothing items as you go. Polar bears are very curious creatures, and they should stop and smell the clothing items, getting distracted so you can quietly get yourself to safety. However, if the bear makes physical contact, you must fight back in whatever capacity you can. Ideally, you would have mace, a knife, or a gun to defend yourself. Without a weapon, your chances of survival aren’t great.

What is the Friendliest Bear in the World?

Black Bear, Animal Wildlife, Cute, American Black Bear, Photography

Black bears are the least dangerous type of bear.

©Mandy Fuller Photography/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

We know that bears can be fierce animals when they find reason to be so, but we have also seen bears be tamed for shows, circus acts, and other displays. It is truly ironic that most of us as children have cuddled with a teddy bear! If a polar bear is the most dangerous of these huge animals, which type of bear is the friendliest?

That is really a tough question to answer because there are no friendly bears in a sense. While they may not be always ferocious, especially when given space, they can be unpredictable just like any other wild creature.

Black bears are probably the least dangerous of all bears, and they will inhabit areas fairly close to civilization. Unlike some of their larger kin, black bears will tolerate people to some extent, and they are not often very aggressive. This all changes if they feel threatened or the need to defend their cubs!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Alexey_Seafarer


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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