Do Not Try To Outrun A Bear


Running away from any species of bear is a bad move. Do not try to outrun a bear.

There are three species of bear in North America. Bears are predators and will chase after a target running away from them. Bears have great speed for their size, as well as great endurance. The American black bear can run at speeds up to 35 mph.

Outrunning a bear is never a good idea. Here I will give you all the reasons why you should never attempt to outrun a bear.

If you or someone you know loves bears then check out these great bear gifts on Amazon by clicking here

How Fast Can A Bear Run?

American Black Bear35 mph
Brown Bear30 mph
Polar Bear24 mph

There are three bear species in North America; The American black bear, the brown grizzly bear, and the polar bear. The grizzly bear is the fastest of the three bear species in North America. The grizzly has been clocked at speeds of up to 56 km/h (35 mp/h), making them much faster than the other two species. 

The American black bear is the second fastest of the three species. The black bear can run at speeds between 40 and 48 km/h (25 to 30 mp/h) when they feel threatened.

Polar bears are large animals but are extremely quick for their size. They have been seen to run up to speeds of 40 km/h (24 mp/h).  

Brown bears eat more than just meat.  If you want to know more then this article I wrote has you covered.

How Fast Can A Human Run?

The speed at which an average human can run firstly depends on the distance. Humans can run short distances over 100 meters at speeds of up to 25 km/h (16 mp/h). Over longer distances, the average speed decreases significantly.

Why Do Bears Run Fast?

Bears are predators, not prey animals. While black bears rarely chase down other animals for food, grizzly bears and polar bears will. Bears will also use their speed to escape from predators.

Bears have huge, muscular legs that help to propel them forward at high speeds. Bears have longer back legs than front legs, helping them to achieve their fast speeds.

If you have ever wondered why bears are mammals, I have written this article

Can Bears Run Downhill?

A myth states that bears can’t run downhill, as their shorter forelegs will cause them to fall. This is a myth and is false. In this article from the National Parks Service, J.M.Mackenzie described Clubfoot, a famous grizzly bear, as “able to keep pace with a horse going downhill, but not uphill.” Bears get quicker as they go downhill.

Can Usain Bolt Outrun A Bear?

Usain Bolt is a multi-time World record holder runner. He has broken the world record for the fastest time, over 100 meters and 200 meters. His speed was clocked at 44.72 km/h (27.8 mph) on 16 August 2009. The speed was taken between the 60 and 80 meters part of the 100 meters sprint.

As discussed, a black bear can run as fast as 30 mp/h. It is very likely that over 100 or 200 meters, an American black bear would beat the fastest man in the world in a race.  If Usain Bolt can’t outrun a black bear, we don’t have a chance to outrun them. Against a grizzly bear or polar bear, Usain would be left in the dust.

Many people think that black bears only eat meat.  However, their diet consists of many types of food.  Find out more in this article I wrote

How Far Can A Bear Run?

I found an excellent article from the National Park Service, which I will summarize here. The bulletin is titled “The speed of grizzly bears.”

In his book “Lives of Game Animals,” Ernest Thompson Seton said the following regarding the brown bear’s speed. “Swift too, is he, in amazing measure for his build. Those who form their idea of a bear’s speed from watching a hulking, slouching prisoner are sure to be amazed at the real thing.

For 50 or 100 yards, a brown bear can go faster than any horse and has the stamina to keep going. In spring, ponies that have wintered outside very commonly become the prey of the grizzly, who can now catch them on the open plains. “

In the same bulletin from 1937, there is a story of a female brown bear who had just woken up from hibernation with her cubs. Losing sight of her cubs due to a car going past, the mother chased the car at a speed of 45 km/h (27 mp/h) for a distance of two miles.  Even if you could run faster than a bear, you will not have the endurance to match.

Do you know why mammals are so dull in color?  Find out in this article I wrote

However…

I found this news article in the Washington Post. Morinda Marube is a professional runner and said that he knows what to do when encountering a black bear. However, when faced with a black bear whilst on the run, he did the opposite of what he knows. He ran.

During his 18-mile run, two black bears appeared. Knowing that the bears could climb trees, he decided that he had to either run or swim to escape. However, he couldn’t swim.

He had passed a house 20 yards before, so he thought he would make it back to the house.

As soon as he started running, the bears ran after him. The runner, Morinda Marube, told reporters that when he reached the house, the bears were within 10 yards of him. The house was unoccupied, so he unhooked the screen door and stepped inside the elevated porch.  

Although the bears could see him, the bears did not enter the porch. The runner said that if the house had been any further than 20 yards away, the two black bears would have caught him.

Bears can often be seen playing with each other, but do you know why?  Find out in this article I wrote

Further Reading:

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/yell/vol14-1-2a.htm

Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton. You can buy this on Amazon here.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Nature.

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