How Tall Do Bears Get? (With Comparisons.)
Bears are often considered to be one of the fiercest animals in the world. What’s more, their habitat is so diverse that we see them in most parts of the world.
But just how tall do bears get? Each species of bear needs to be considered individually. On top of that male bears are significantly larger than the female of the species. We can get a rough average length of about 7 feet (2.13 meters) standing on their hind legs, when considering some species of bears as a whole.
Here is a table below on – “How tall do bears get?” standing on their hind legs. (This can vary greatly from locations, sub-species, averages and extremes in size and height.)
|Black Bear||6 feet (1.82 meters)|
|Grizzly Bear||7 feet (2.13 meters)|
|Brown Bear||9 feet (2.74 meters)|
|Polar Bear||10 feet (3 meters)|
However, it’s far better to go a little more in depth and examine the black, grizzly and polar bears separately when we talk about how tall they are.
How Tall Is a Black Bear?
The North American species of black bears, (Ursus americanus) typically range from to 4.2 to 6.2 feet in length. (1.28 to 1.88 meters) standing on their rear legs. Interestingly, males and females don’t vary in their length that much.
But the two sexes will typically differ in weight. An adult male black bear can weigh between 130 and 660 lbs. (Around 59 kg to 299 kg.)
While an adult female black bear will weigh between 90 to 175 lbs. (Over 40 kg to 79 kg.)
It’s important to also keep in mind that the amount of food in a bear’s diet will make a big difference in its weight. Black bears, in particular males, can show a tremendous amount of variation in their size from location to location.
The lower weight black bears can weigh in at about five times less than the largest.
How Tall Is a Grizzly Bear?
Grizzly bears, also known as brown bears*, can reach 7 feet and up to 8, or 9 feet when standing on their hind legs. (2.13 to 2.74 meters) To put this in perspective, an ostrich is around 9 feet tall.
(*Grizzly bears, Kodiak bears are the same species as brown bears – Ursus arctos, but a brown and grizzly bear are separate subspecies.)
The males can weigh up to 1,700 lbs. (771 kg.) Female grizzly bears are significantly smaller at a maximum weight of around 800 lbs. (362 kg.)
How Tall Is a Polar Bear?
When asking how tall do bears get we often want to focus on the largest of the large. And we most certainly find some huge specimens among the polar bears. In fact, they’re not just the largest bear. Polar bears are also the largest land carnivore.
When an adult male polar bear is standing on its hind legs it will usually be a little over ten feet tall. (Over 3 meters.)
A female polar bear is a little shorter, typically measuring about eight feet. These female polar bears will typically weigh up to around 550 lbs. (249 kg.) While an adult male polar bear can weigh as much as 990 lbs. (449 kg.)
Do Polar Bears Eat Penguins?
The short answer is “No.” The reason why polar bears don’t eat penguins is because polar bears live in the northern hemisphere in the Arctic. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere, in the Antarctic, so the two don’t live in the same regions.
What Are the Smallest Bears?
Black, grizzly and polar bears are the most commonly discussed members of the species. But we can find the smallest sizes in one of the less well known variants. The sun bear is a fairly recent discovery. It was only officially recognized for the first time in 1925. These diminutive animals are only about five feet tall. They also typically weigh about 150 lbs. This makes the sun bear roughly half the size of a black bear.
But don’t feel bad for the sun bear, it uses that smaller size to its advantage. The sun bear’s smaller frame gives it the ability to gracefully maneuver through the forests of Southeast Asia.
How Do Hybrid Bears Fit Into the Picture?
When we look at the sizes of bears it’s clear that there’s some considerable difference between the species. This isn’t too surprising when we look at their evolutionary journey. The main divergence of living bear species began about 5.05 million years ago. This split is primarily responsible for the black and grizzly bear.
The date at which polar bears evolved has been a trickier question to answer. Genetic analysis seemed to give us some definitive answers for a while. At first nobody was quite sure why researchers were finding vastly divergent results. But the main issue eventually became apparent.
Small populations of grizzly bears were still occasionally introducing their DNA into the larger polar bear gene pool. With that in mind the point at which polar bears evolved is generally thought to have been around 130,000 to 650,000 years ago.
The reason why it’s so hard to get a solid point of divergence between the grizzly and polar bear is that this phenomenon still happens on occasion. It’s extremely rare for a grizzly and polar bear to mate. The conjoining points of their two habitats are just as rare as their mating. But we have some recent examples from the Canadian Arctic.
At present we’ve been able to identify eight hybrid bears resulting from a polar and grizzly bear. These hybrids are typically known as grolar bears. Interestingly enough all grolar sightings in the wild have been traced back to a single female polar bear.
This small sample size makes it hard to apply any absolute rules to grolar bears. However, in general they seem to show an averaging of most of their parent’s features. This makes them smaller than polar bears but larger than grizzly bears.