Polar bears, Kodiak bears, Grizzly bears, and Kamchatka brown bears are among the largest bear species in the world. But, which one is the biggest bear in the world?

  • Adult male grizzlies weigh 180-360 kg (400-790 lb) on average. They can be more than 500 kg (1,100 pounds). When they stood, their average total height is 198 cm (6.50 feet). But, occasionally, huge male grizzlies have been observed, whose size greatly exceeds the average. 3 meters (9.8 feet) tall male grizzlies on their hind legs have been reported.
  • Kamchatka brown bears (scientific name: Ursus arctos beringianus) are among the largest bears in the world. They are slightly bigger than grizzlies: Male Kamchatka brown bears can have a body length of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) tall on hind legs, and a weight of up to 650 kg (1,430 lb).
  • The Kodiak bear (scientific name: Ursus arctos middendorffi) usually reaches sizes of 600 kg (1,320 lb) and has even been known to exceed a weight of 680 kg (1,500 lb). A large male could reach a height of 3 meters (9.8 feet) when standing fully upright on its hind legs. The Kodiak bear is considered the biggest brown bear in the world.
  • On average, A boar (adult male) polar bear weighs around 350-700 kg (772-1,543 lb. Large specimens can be more than 800 kg (1,763 lbs) and stand more than 3 meters (9.8 feet) tall when standing fully upright.

The polar bear is the largest bear in the world

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is the biggest bear in the world. It is also the largest hypercarnivorous land mammal species on Earth (see notes 1, the omnivorous Kodiak bear is approximately the same size, but still, the polar bear is considered slightly bigger).

The largest Grizzly bear on record

The largest grizzly bear ever recorded (and properly measured) was 2.74 meters tall (9 feet). It was killed by a hunter in Alaska.

But, a grizzly skull found by an Alaska taxidermist in 1976 was bigger than that of this record grizzly bear. It was probably a larger grizzly bear.

The largest Kamchatka brown bear on record

A skull of a Kamchatka brown bear, founded in 2013, scored 30 11/16 SCI points (Safari Club International). Based on the skull, the animal can be at least 3 meters (9.8 feet) tall.

Kamchatka brown bear
A Kamchatka brown bear near Dvuhyurtochnoe lake, a freshwater lake n the Ust-Kamchatka region of the Kamchatka Territory, Russia, Photo by Robert F. Tobler – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link. Taken on July 23rd, 2015. One of the largest bear species in the world, they are native to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, hence the name. They are also known as the “Far Eastern brown bear”.

The largest Kodiak bear on record

The largest Kodiak Bear ever recorded is the famous 1700-pound (771 kg) world-record brown bear which is on display in Anchorage Airport, Alaska. It is also the biggest brown bear ever recorded.

The huge bear also holds the largest skull record in brown bears.

Largest bears: World record Kodiak bear
World record Kodiak bear – the famous 1700-pound (771 kg) world-record brown bear which is on display in Anchorage Airport, Alaska. This is the largest brown bear ever recorded.

The largest polar bear on record

The largest polar bear on record was a male shot at Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska in 1960. The giant bear reportedly weighed 1,002 kg (2,209 lb), and when mounted, stood 3.39 m (11 ft 1 in) tall on its hind legs.

Overall, this specimen is the largest bear in the world ever recorded.

The largest polar bear ever recorded: Alaska, 1960
The largest polar bear on record (and the largest bear ever recorded), reportedly weighing 1,002 kg (2,209 lb), was a male shot at Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska in 1960. This specimen, when mounted, stood 3.39 m (11 ft 1 in) tall on its hind legs. Please note that in the photo left, the forced perspective was used, a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear larger than it actually is. On the right, a photo from a 1960 issue of Sports Illustrated, can give a more accurate idea about how big the monster was. See 20 amazing polar bear facts

The largest bear ever lived: South American short-faced bear

The largest known terrestrial mammalian carnivoran of all time was (possibly) the South American short-faced bear (Arctotherium) source 1 source 2. Big males of this species would have weighed more than 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) and stood at least 11 feet (3.4 meters) tall on the hind limbs.

A specimen from Buenos Aires shows an individual estimated, using the humerus, to weigh between 983 and 2,042 kg (2,167 and 4,502 lb), though the authors consider the upper limit as improbable and say that 1,588 kg (3,501 lb) is more likely.

South American giant short faced bear
South American giant short-faced bear versus human size comparison. Photo credit: Soibelzon, Schubert, Journal of Paleontology. Big males of South American giant short-faced bears would have weighed more than 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) and stood at least 11 feet (3.4 meters) tall on the hind limbs. A specimen from Buenos Aires shows an individual estimated, using the humerus, to weigh between 983 and 2,042 kg (2,167 and 4,502 lb), though the authors consider the upper limit as improbable and say that 1,588 kg (3,501 lb) is more likely.

Notes

  1. If an animal has a diet that is more than 70% meat then it’s called a hypercarnivoreAll felids, including your house cat, are hypercarnivorous, for example. Some examples include crocodilesalligators, owls, shrikes, eagles, felids, most wild canids (domesticated dogs and foxes are not hypercarnivorous), dolphinsorcassnakes, spiders, scorpions, mantises, marlins, groupers, and most sharks.
M. Özgür Nevres
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