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How Strong Are Bears? (Polar, Black & Grizzly Bears)

Bears are incredibly strong. Grizzly bears and polar bears are the strongest, due to their large size. These bears are estimated to be 5-7 times stronger than humans.

There are eight species of bears, each with its unique characteristics. Because of this, there is no precise answer to how strong they are. 

But we can generalize about these species’ power. 

Grizzly bears and polar bears are generally stronger than smaller bears, as they’re very large.

In this article, we’ll talk about how strong the different bears are, how strong their paws and claws are, and more.

How Strong Are Bears?

Bears are one of the most powerful mammals on Earth[1]. They have huge muscles that make them able to lift more than 1,100 pounds, which is about the weight of a small car. 

We’ve looked into four different species: polar bears, grizzly bears, black bears, and panda bears.

Bear SpeciesStrength
Grizzly BearCan lift more than 1100 pounds
Polar BearA polar bear’s bite is 2,000 pounds-force (8,900 N)
Black BearCan lift more than 1200 pound icebergs
Panda BearAre surprisingly dangerous and can bite almost as strong as a black bear

Bears are extremely powerful animals, with a strength that is unmatched by any other mammal on Earth. They’re able to kill large prey such as moose or even humans in some cases. 

Related: Strongest Bear Species Ranked

angry bear in the dark

How Strong Are Grizzly Bears?

Grizzly bears are considered one of the most powerful and strongest land-bound hunters on the Earth. They are able to lift around 1,100 pounds due to their huge muscles. 

They are closely related to polar bears, which are known to be even stronger. 

The grizzly bear is a subspecies of the brown bear, and they’re known for the hump on their back. This is actually a congregation of muscles, allowing them to channel immense force.

How Strong Is a Grizzly Bear’s Bite?

Grizzly bears have a bite force of about 1160 PSI. Their bite is incredibly strong, and they can easily crush through bones with it.

Their teeth are also incredibly sharp, making them perfect for tearing apart flesh or crunching on hard objects like bone.

Related: Bear Bite Force

brown bear catching a fish

How Strong Are Grizzly Bears’ Paw Swipes?

Blows from a grizzly bear’s paw swipes can reach in excess of 70 mph (113 km/h). They usually use their paws and claws to maul prey, such as deer, from behind, leaving their corpses almost destroyed.

How Strong Are Grizzly Bears’ Claws?

Grizzly bears have relatively short claws, compared to their big size. Their claws measure 2-4 inches long. 

But what they lack in length, they make up in sharpness. Grizzlies have been known to attack moose or elk by slicing into their flesh with these powerful claws.

Related: Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts 

bear claws while eating prey

Can You Fight a Grizzly Bear?

Humans can’t beat grizzly bears in a fight, at least not without any tools or weapons. These large, brown bears can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, and with their sharp claws and strong bite, a human wouldn’t stand a chance.

If you see a bear, keep your distance, back away slowly, and avoid confrontation.

How Strong Are Polar Bears?

Polar bears are remarkably strong and have been recorded lifting icebergs that weigh more than 1,000 pounds. They are the largest terrestrial carnivores in the world. 

These large arctic bears weigh in at around 700-1,700 pounds and can grow to be up to 10 feet long. They’re equipped with dangerously sharp teeth and large claws, which they frequently use to hunt and kill seals and walruses.

Despite their size, they are incredibly fast and agile swimmers, able to reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.

How Strong Is a Polar Bear’s Bite?

Polar bears have jaws that can crush bone and teeth that are adapted for gripping prey. A polar bear’s bite is so strong that it can easily break through the thick hides of seals, their main source of food. 

In fact, a polar bear’s bite can reach 1,200 PSI, which is one of the bites in the entire animal kingdom.

polar bear bite

How Strong Are Polar Bears’ Paw Swipes?

Polar bears are some of the strongest bears around[2]. They are able to crush prey with their paws and have been known to kill walruses and seals with a single swipe. They are even strong enough to break through the ice that covers the Arctic Ocean.

They are also incredibly fast, allowing them to catch prey that might try to escape.

How Strong Are Polar Bears’ Claws?

The claws of a polar bear are incredibly strong and can easily rip through flesh. While they have shorter claws than grizzly bears, they have more curved claws to allow for better traction on ice.

polar bear claws

Can You Fight a Polar Bear?

Given the vast size difference between a human and a polar bear, it’s highly unlikely that a person could fight off this massive animal. With its powerful jaws, sharp claws, and thick fur coat, a human wouldn’t stand much of a chance.

How Strong Are Black Bears?

Black bears are much weaker than grizzly and polar bears, but they’re not weak. They’ve been observed flipping rocks that weigh 310 to 325 pounds (141 to 147 kg) pounds.[3]

They may look intimidating because of their size, but they don’t have the muscle mass that grizzly bears and polar bears have. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be dangerous, though – black bears can still inflict serious injuries if they feel threatened.

black bears eating green plants

How Strong Is a Black Bear’s Bite?

Black bears aren’t the biggest, but also not the smallest, of the ursine species and, as such, are not considered as strong as their larger relatives grizzly and polar bears. 

They can still deliver a powerful bite, particularly if they are defending their cubs or territory. Their bites measure between 650 and 975 PSI.

How Strong Are Black Bears’ Paw Swipes?

Black bears paws swipes can be very strong and inflict a lot of damage. They routinely swipe at their prey. They can do a lot of damage especially when they “body slap” their victims.

How Strong Are Black Bears’ Claws?

A black bear’s claws are not as long as a grizzly bear’s, but they are still incredibly powerful and can easily rip through flesh. Their claws typically measure less than 2 inches.

Black bears use their claws for many activities, such as climbing trees, digging for food, and protecting themselves from danger.

black bear climbing on a tree

Can You Fight a Black Bear?

Yes, you can fight a black bear, but it depends on the bear. A large black bear will be able to overpower a human, while a small bear wouldn’t.

When facing a black bear, you should make yourself look intimidating. Stand tall and make loud noises. This will scare the bear away, as they’re not dominant creatures.

How Strong Is a Panda Bear?

Panda bears are not as big or as strong as grizzly bears, but they are still incredibly powerful. They can weigh up to 350 pounds and have a lot of strength in their limbs. 

Their shoulders and neck are especially powerful, which gives them the ability to fend off enemies. Despite their size, panda bears are not considered aggressive animals and usually only attack when they feel threatened.


Bears are some of the strongest animals on Earth. They have huge muscles that allow them to lift heavy weights and defend themselves against predators. 

Different species of bears vary in terms of their strength, with polar bears being the most powerful.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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