The Scariest Types of Bears in the World

Over 2.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Scariest Types of Bears in the World
Voting Rules
Vote up the most terrifying species of bear you hope to never encounter in the wild.

Let's face it, bears are cute animals. OK not the biggest bears, but their cubs are absolutely adorable and every part of our nature instructs us to pick them up and cuddle with them. Unfortunately, if you do this, you might learn the lesson Leonardo Dicaprio's character learned in The Revenant: do not, under any circumstances, be anywhere near a bear cub—much less ever pick one up. Each and every one of us should have a healthy fear of bears. It's natural to be afraid of bears and that has a lot to do with their sheer size and ability to kill with a single swipe.

Seeing as they are so cute in appearance, a lot of folks may not realize it, but bears are really dangerous to humans. They are the largest carnivore on land and dominate their respective ecosystems as the alpha predator. Generally speaking, you really shouldn't mess with just about any bear species as bears are aggressive animals. 

Bears aren't going around eating people or anything; they subsist mostly on berries, fish, and other items found in their environment. However, they are highly territorial animals who will use their gigantic claws and teeth to get their point across in a deadly way—should any human come snooping around. The scariest and worst types of bears that attack humans are pretty much every species of bear. They know they are tougher than you and will assert themselves if threatened so it's ok to be afraid of bears... especially the ones on this list.

Photo: Crossfit Invasion

  • Polar Bear
    Photo: Wikipedia
    1,340 VOTES

    Polar Bear

    Size: Polar bears are the largest bear species weighing in at a maximum of 1,534 lbs (700 kg) and standing nearly 10 feet (3 meters) in height.

    Location: Polar regions within the Arctic Circle.

    Distinguishing Features: A polar bear's most distinctive feature (other than its size) is the white fur that covers its body. Some individuals have been noted to have a brown coloring, which is likely due to crossbreeding with other bear species.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Unless you spend a lot of time on the ice flows, you probably don't have much to worry about. Unfortunately, global climate change has resulted in an overall loss of habitat for the polar bear, which has pushed its range much further south than previously observed. Being the largest of all land carnivores, interacting with one who is hungry would be an unwise decision. They can be incredibly aggressive despite what you may have learned from Coca-Cola commercials.

    1,340 votes
  • Grizzly Bear
    Photo: Wikipedia
    1,205 VOTES

    Size: They can get up to 1,500 lbs (680 kg) in size and able to stand up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) in height.

    Location: Originally, they were known to inhabit most of North America save for the East Coast, but now only live in the Western and Northern regions extending through Canada and across all of Alaska.

    Distinguishing Features: Grizzly Bears have a brown, shaggy fur that covers their bodies. Their name refers to the golden and grey tips of their hair, not a nasty disposition as many people incorrectly believe.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Grizzlies are incredibly aggressive when defending their young and their territory. When a grizzly attacks a human, it most often results in the person's death. The bears will slash with their long claws, bite with their powerful jaws, and bounce atop their prey to ensure they are dead. It is not uncommon for a grizzly bear to continue to attack a person long after they are no longer a threat.

    1,205 votes
  • Kamchatka Brown Bear
    Photo: Wikipedia
    793 VOTES

    Kamchatka Brown Bear

    Size: The Kamchatka brown bear is a very large subspecies of brown bear reaching a maximum weight of 1,433 lbs (650 kg) with a height of 10 feet (3 meters).

    Location: The Kamchatka brown bear can be found in the Anadyrsky District of the Former Soviet Union with subspecies found in Saint Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.

    Distinguishing Features: Even across the many different subspecies, nearly all examples are brown in color as the name suggests. Their fur can feature a violet tint with light-colored individuals rarely seen.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Kamchatka brown bears are incredibly large carnivores and while they do not typically attack humans, they are deadly when they do. Like most species of brown bears, they are highly territorial and protective of their cubs so wandering into their den and picking one up should not be on your bucket list.

    793 votes
  • Kodiak Bear
    Photo: Wikipedia
    765 VOTES

    Size: Adults can get up to 1,500 lbs (680 kg) in weight.

    Location: The islands of the Kodiak Archipelago in Southwest Alaska

    Distinguishing Features: Kodiak bears are incredibly large and rank second as the largest bears in the world. They have light-brown shaggy hair and are sometimes referred to as the Alaskan brown bear.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Kodiak Bears avoid humans whenever possible and prefer to fish in local streams as far away from people as possible. Unfortunately, some people wander a bit too close and while they aren't the most aggressive bears in the world, they will attack a human who gets close to them. There is an average of about one serious injury related to a Kodiak bear attack each year.

    765 votes
  • Himalayan Brown Bear
    Photo: Wikipedia
    605 VOTES

    Himalayan Brown Bear

    Size: Relatively small reaching heights of between 6 and 7 feet (1.8 and 2.2 meters).

    Location: Northern Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Northern India, west China, and Nepal.

    Distinguishing Features: Himalayan brown bears have short, light-brown fur all over their bodies. They are small bears, which are currently critically Endangered due to habitat loss and poaching.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Though they clearly look like bears, many people believe the Himalayan brown bear gave rise to the legend of the Yeti. The Nepalese name for the bear, "Dzu-Teh" has been associated with the bear and the Abominable Snowman. Though they are small bears, they can be deadly when cornered or their habitat is threatened much like the other bears on this list.

    605 votes
  • American Black Bear
    Photo: Wikipedia

    Size: Black bears can range in size between 90 and 550 lbs (41 to 250 kg).

    Location: Throughout most of North America.

    Distinguishing Features: American black bears look very much like grizzly bears, but have a black coat, which is where their name comes from. Despite this, they can range in color from light brown to jet black due to the large number of subspecies.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Black bears typically keep away from humans as much as possible. Their sheer size and weight affords them an easy win in any human/bear interaction, but they tend to keep to themselves. They become dangerous whenever they feel their cubs or den are being threatened. Black bears are relatively intelligent and are often trained by humans for a number of purposes. They can be trained as guard animals where they will certainly intimidate anyone who approaches, but are more than capable of stopping anyone who gets too close.

    688 votes