How Much Does a Bear Weigh? All 8 Species Ranked by Weight

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How much does a bear weigh exactly? Well, depending on the exact species and gender, they can be as heavy as 1,500 pounds.

But they are not all preying on seals in the Arctic, and some can’t go beyond 150 pounds, such as the Southeast Asian sun bear.

For more on the factors that affect their growth, read below!

How Much Do Bears Weigh?

Bears are massive creatures, but that doesn’t stop them from running at an exceptional speed. They have robust figures with exceptionally sharp claws and jaws, hence the reputation of ferocious predators that can pose a danger to humans.

But what about the weight? How much does the average bear weigh?

Although many factors contribute to a bear’s weight, most of these animals have an average body mass that ranges between 200 and 500 pounds. That number can change when the animal is either pregnant or hibernating.

However, many bear species are much smaller than the average, while some exceed that limit to a large degree. For instance, the sun bear rarely weighs more than 100 pounds, while the average male polar bear can grow to a startling 1,100 pounds.

Now, let’s take a look at the average bear weight of all eight extant bear species that can still be found in the world. Below we rank them from the largest to the smallest.

​1. Polar Bears (Ursus Maritimus)

The polar bear is already known to be the largest bear breed, so it’s not surprising that the heaviest recorded bear in history is a 2,209-pound male polar bear that was hunted in 1960 in Alaska.

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Astonishingly, this creature managed to double the already enormous 1,100-pound average bear weight that these species are known for.

2. ​Brown Bears (Ursus Arctos)

The largest recorded brown bear had a body mass of over 1,200 pounds and was discovered by a taxidermist in 1976. In 2014, there was another great discovery of a grizzly skull, which measured 27 and 6/16th inches in length.

A close runner-up, ​a captive Dakota Zoo Kodiak bear, had a body weight of 2,130 pounds with a nine-inch thick fat layer at the time of his death in 1987. It’s speculated that a year prior to that, the predator weighed 2,400 pounds. However, there was no way to prove this definitely.

3. Asian Black Bears (Ursus Thibetanus)

American black bears already have a substantial 340-pound physique, but back in 1972, a 902-pound male was discovered in New Brunswick. It’s estimated to have weighed 1,100 pounds and was 7.9 feet long.

Imagine what it would look like if a person stood next to these enormous creatures! Considering their massive physique, does it really come as a shock that a male grizzly is five times stronger than an average human being?

4. Panda Bears (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca)

5. Sloth bear (Melursus Ursinus)

6. Andean Bear (Tremarctos Ornatus)

7. North American Black Bear (Ursus Americanus)

8. Sun Bear (Ursus Malayanus)

How Heavy Is a Bear: Determining Factors

Even among members of the same species, bears can vary in weight based on several factors, which we explore in detail below.

1. Species

As demonstrated above, the bear’s species is the most important factor in determining its specific weight and body type.

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Generally, some

Smaller breeds—that don’t need to be exceptionally huge to survive—usually weigh under 300 pounds. In contrast, omnivore bear species that need to hunt or need that additional skin and fur to survive in the cool climate will be bulkier.

2. Age

It surely is no surprise that aging predominantly affects an animal’s body weight. Cubs start off relatively small, usually around a pound, and gradually raise more body mass until they reach their full-grown potential.

When they are still young, before reaching maturity, bears weigh under 100 pounds. Their size substantially increases in most cases, but some species don’t grow much.

Bears won’t hunt as much as they age, which can lead to a certain weight loss, but nothing would drastically change.

3. Sex

4. Time of the Year

How much do bears weigh when hibernating?

Hibernation influences a bear’s size throughout the year. During winter, bears completely shut down. They don’t need to eat or drink and rarely urinate or defecate.

To endure that state of hibernation, bears have to cram down as much food as possible during summer, especially carbohydrate-rich berries. This results in a significant weight gain during this season, which can increase by 30 pounds in just one week.

A similar thing happens when a female bear gets pregnant. Right after the mating season, these animals can put on 100 pounds. Polar bears, specifically, can even double up their size while carrying a cub.

Key Takeaways

So how much does the average bear weigh? As you can see, their weight varies greatly among the different species, subspecies, and genders. That said, the brown bear and the American black bear are most prevalent in the U.S., and their adult males weigh around 900 pounds and 600 pounds, correspondingly.

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FAQs

How much does a grizzly bear weigh?

While their size varies between subspecies, male grizzlies can grow up to 900 pounds on average, with females weighing around 200 to 300 pounds less.

How much does a bear weigh at birth?

It depends on the species. For instance, male brown bear cubs weigh around a pound, and by the end of their first year, they grow up to 200 pounds.

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Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas. Read more >>