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Do Bears Make Good Pets? Everything You Need to Know!

Quincy Miller

Disclaimer: We do not endorse keeping these animals as pets

There might have been a time when you asked yourself, “Do bears make good pets?” The answer is no, bears do not make good pets. It doesn’t matter what kind of bear you’re talking about either. They’re bears.

We know what you’re thinking: You’ve seen bears that were domesticated at the circus and other places, so clearly, some people can make it work.

Before you abscond with a grizzly cub, though, read on to find out exactly what you’d be getting yourself into.

divider-multiprintIs Owning a Bear Really That Bad?

Imagine an animal that weighs 1,500 pounds, has a bite strong enough to crush a bowling ball, and can hit speeds of 40 mph. Now imagine swatting that animal on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper because they pooped on the carpet again.

Doesn’t sound like it would go well for you, does it?

Many exotic animal trainers say that bears who are raised as cubs can be sweet and playful. That’s all well and good, but keep in mind that a bear can kill you playfully just as easily as they can kill you angrily.

Bears are massive, awe-inspiring animals, and unlike dogs and cats, there have been no successful efforts to domesticate them. That’s wild blood that runs through their veins, so even if you got one as a cub and dedicated a ton of time to training and socializing them, you’re just one bad day away from being a hot lunch.

Also, even if you could successfully domesticate a bear, it’s not ideal for the animal. They need room to wander around and forage, so keeping them in your backyard isn’t humane.

Is It Even Legal to Own a Bear?

Surprisingly enough, there are at least six states in which bear ownership is legal: Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina. You may be able to own bears in other states, but you’ll need to get a special permit first.

Getting that permit will likely be expensive and time-consuming, and authorities will most likely check to make sure that you have facilities capable of housing the bear before they approve them.

Also, expect your insurance costs to skyrocket, because being close to a Kodiak is considered a risk factor for an early grave.

Is There Anything Else That You Should Know About Owning a Bear?

Don’t underestimate how expensive it would be to feed an adult bear — it would cost a small fortune. You would need a massive enclosure to house a bear responsibly, and even then, there’s not likely to be enough going on inside it to keep the bear entertained. Assuming that they stayed in the enclosure, the bear would likely soon grow depressed.

Bears are incredibly smart animals, so you’d likely have trouble keeping them contained. Bears have even been known to cover their tracks and hide when pursued by hunters, so they may lure you into the habitat only to jump out at the last minute in the world’s worst surprise party.

Bear on the woods_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

Are There Any Benefits to Owning Bears?

Bears are said to smell clean and fresh, and if you have a bear around, you’ll finally have that honey-stealing buddy that you’ve always wanted.

They’re also fantastic at chasing off door-to-door salesmen, and burglars aren’t likely to linger long in a house that has a “Beware of Bear” sign in the window.

Other than that, though, there’s little to be said about owning a bear.

What About a Panda? They’re Technically Bears, Right?

Yes, pandas are technically bears — which means that technically, they’re still bears. They have extremely powerful bites and can kill you just as easily as their scarier cousins.

Pandas have evolved to eat bamboo, which is extremely tough, so they need powerful jaws to do the job. While they’re not inherently aggressive, they won’t hesitate to turn those jaws on you if they feel it’s warranted.

It’s not legal to own a panda either, as they’re all technically owned by the Chinese government. Even the ones that you see in zoos belong to China, and they’re rented out for as much as $1 million per year.

It turns out that one of the reasons that breeding pandas has proven so difficult is that they commonly have threesomes when it’s time to reproduce.

divider-multiprintWhat’s the Verdict? Do Bears Make Good Pets?

Bears make terrible pets. While they may look cute, it’s simply a ruse to lure you in close so they can feast on your delicious insides. Bringing one into your home, no matter how well you try to domesticate them, is likely to end in tragedy.

Besides, keep in mind some of the horrific things that mankind has done to bears over the years: hunting them, abusing them, forcing them to participate in disgusting blood sports like bear baiting — the list goes on and on.

Don’t you think you owe it to them to finally leave them alone?

Have you considered going in a smaller direction for your next pet? Try:


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Quincy Miller

Quincy has been around mutts his entire life and has been writing about them for the past nine years and now consists of sharing a house with three spoiled pups who couldn’t hold down a job to save their lives. Quincy never intended to be a cat person. When his wife brought home a kitten one day, he told her she had one week to find it a new home. That week turned into 10 years (his wife moves very slowly), and that kitten turned into three (they got two more, the kitten didn't self-replicate). After a decade of sharing his home with the dogs and three cats, one horrifying realization finally set in: oh God, he's a cat person now too, isn't he???