Do Bears Make Good Pets?

Grizzly Bear cubs

Grizzly Bear GeoZoo.orgYou might have seen videos on Youtube of bears acting like friendly, cuddly, gigantic animals.It’s true, many owners keep bears at home and treat them like gigantic dogs, describing them as members of their family, and comparing them to other more common pets.Always take view this videos with a grain of salt and a pinch of skepticism. The people who own bears are most likely experienced owners or animal keepers with years of experience handling wild animals.Bear owners are always conscious that their friendly pets could kill them (and more of less everything the love) in an instant with a small swipe of their huge paws. Bear owners love their companions, but they have a deep and deserved respect for them and they’re entirely aware of the dangers associated with being even NEAR a bear.In this article, you’ll find some of the reasons why keeping a bear as a pet may not be a great idea, or, maybe this article kindles a fire and will start you down your path towards bear ownership!

The Human – Bear Relationship

DougAndBart GeoZoo.orgThe essential issue with keeping a bear is that they’re wild animals and they’ll never really see humans as “friends,” or at least not in the way another human or animal would.Bears can feel affection for their carers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t suddenly attack you because they felt different, moody, or angry that day. In the case a bear injures a human or another animal they won’t feel remorse or any type of emotion from their actions. This is their pure wild instincts at work… that’s who they are, and no one will ever change that fact.It’s not uncommon to hear about bear owners getting attacked by their pets suddenly and without warning. Even if you have the luck of finding a gentle bear, with all it’s needs met and maintain proper security measures, there’s still a high risk of a lethal or gruesome accident occurring. Google some recent news and you’ll find some terrifying stories of exotic and experienced handlers animal handlers who were injured while working with bears. For example, the case of Stephan Miller, a famous Hollywood animal trainer who was mauled by his loving bear, a trained animal that after years of appearing in TV commercials and films with a friendly and docile attitude suddenly gave in to his wildness.

Legality of Keeping a Bear Pet

Ownership of bears in captivity is illegal in most countries, there are some exceptions, but most of them require special permits and exotic animal licenses to keep them in captivity. Remember, the fact that it might be ‘legal’ for you to keep a pet bear doesn’t mean you can just buy one out of the blue! There’s a series of legal paperwork and equipment you’ll need to keep your bear, your neighbors, and yourself safe. As always, check with your local government.

Learn More about Bears

The Behavior of a Bear

Bear sitting GeoZoo.orgMost owners and handlers describe bears whom were raised entirely in captivity as gentle animals with a playful disposition. This behavior of these captive bears allows handlers to train them for entertainment (film/TV) and makes them a little more friendlier towards strangers and other animals.In the wilderness, bears are solitary animals who rarely seek company, aside from mothers with their cubs. Bears like to be alone, until it’s time to hunt. This behavior makes the bond with humans and other animals much more complicated and less stable, it’s hard to tell when a bear wants to be left alone, and when they do… they REALLY do.Some handlers have successfully trained bears by raising them from cubs,  this can reduce their aggressiveness towards other species and become generally friendlier animals.However, even with years of training, bears can give in to their basic instincts, becoming aggressive over food, or merely a perceived mistreating by their handlers. While a dog’s misbehavior could mean a painful bite and a possible visit to the doctor, a small swipe from a 700 lb (318 kg) bear is fatal for humans and most other living creatures.

Bottom Line – Should I Have a Pet Bear?

The short answer, no, bears are not good pets, you should never take one of them out of their natural habitats and keeping one of them in your house is a hazard.There are dozens of expert wild animal handlers who keep bears in captivity, but you must always remember they’re trained to handle these animals and are still cautious of their behavior.If you have the right equipment and experience of animal handling you might like the idea of having a pet bear, and you might be able to get one, but keep in mind, it will be a tough endeavor with high risks. Also, consider the consequences and the lives of your neighbors if your bear manages to escapeYou might find a lovable, gentle, and friendly bear who loves cuddling with you, and who will stand beside you for years like any other great pet, but you can’t forget what they are, you must always respect their instincts.What do you think? Do you know about anyone nearby you that keeps a pet bear? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Do Bears Make Good Pets?

  1. Will Saunders says:

    An old classmate found a baby bear cub in the woods and took it home. It was cute as a baby. But I know in a couple of years, that little cute baby won’t be so cute. The expense alone will be great. It’s also a state where keeping a bear is illegal.

  2. David Shobe says:

    “The people who own bears are most likely experienced owners or animal keepers with years of experience handling wild animals.”

    Is this an example of natural selection (on the human population)?

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