How Fast Can A Grizzly Bear Run?


Given their bulky physique and their slow, deliberate movements, you may be wondering, ‘how fast can a grizzly bear run?’

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the brown bear, also regarded as a grizzly bear, has the quickest forelegs, reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. The grizzly bear is just marginally faster than the American black bear- the nation’s most prevalent bear species.

Of course, a bear could only accomplish such a feat when it’s at the height of its athleticism. Not when it has just come from hibernation, having lost 15% to 30% of its body weight. Besides, it needs smooth, flat surfaces into which their long claws could sink.

In any case, despite their big muscular appearances, bears are surprisingly fast. In this post, we’ll be looking at what traits make their swiftness possible and whether you can outrun one? Let’s get cracking!

How Can They Move So Quickly?

Ursid species are surprisingly fast, despite their muscular, boxy bodies, flat feet, and a thick layer of fur that you’d think might slow them off. The protruding, muscle-topped shoulder blades of grizzlies, in particular, power their forelimbs to sprint and dig. The distinctive hump on their upper backs formed by this mound of muscle is the best way to distinguish a grizzly from a black bear.

Bears also have large claws that can grow to be more than four inches long, which aid them in finding their footing on soft ground but impede their ability to run on hard surfaces such as asphalt. Since their forelimbs are shorter, they can carry a more tremendous amount of weight than their back legs. The bears’ lopsided stature has long given the impression that they cannot run downhill. However, this misconception has been debunked on multiple occasions.

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Is It Possible To Outrun A Bear?

Even Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, couldn’t outrun a steadfast grizzly or black bear at full speed. During a race in Berlin, 2009, the famous Jamaican sprinter set the world record for the fastest human foot speed ever recorded. He clocked a 27.8 mph, which was nearly four mph higher than his average speed and more than ten mph faster than the average human’s sprint.

Even so, that’s seven mph slower than a grizzly’s top speed and just over two mph slower than a black bear’s. Nonetheless, Bolt could be able to outrun a lumbering polar bear or an Asiatic black bear (moon bear), which can reach speeds of 25 mph, as well as a sloth bear or panda that can achieve speeds of up to 20 mph.

Even so, the line graphs depicting his breakneck sprints show that he can only maintain his full speed for one to two seconds, just like any other person. On the other hand, according to many records recovered in Yellowstone National Park from the 1930s, a bear can maintain speeds of 25 to 28 miles per hour for 2 miles (some of the only data on bear speed present to this date).

The average person, moving at a slow 15 mph, will clearly not be able to keep up. The best part is that most bears, like other animals, prefer to avoid humans rather than chase them. They attack only to defend their food, cubs, and territory.

Yellowstone Bear World Is A Must-See Attraction!

Make it a goal to visit Yellowstone Bear World to see a variety of wildlife. Patience, as the saying goes, pays off. If you spend some time looking around, you’ll notice many grizzly bears in this area. You should schedule your tour for the early and late-day hours as they are most active at these times. To arrange a tour, call the office at (208)-359-9688.

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