How Fast Can A Grizzly Bear Run? Can You Outrun A Bear?

How Fast Can A Grizzly Bear Run? (Can You Outrun A Bear?)

The question of how fast can a grizzly bear run has undoubtedly been consistent in the heart of many.

Considering their body features, huge appearance, and deliberate, calculated movement, you might wonder if bears can run fast or if humans can outrun them.

Grizzly bears can run at an average speed of 35 mph, slightly faster than the American black bear. This speed is possible, thanks to their forelegs that help them run fast.

The grizzly bear is not as popular as the American black bear but it has the highest speed compared to the other eight species of bears.

Its dwelling region is within Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, west of Canada, and the far south of Colorado

Grizzly Bear Speed: How Fast Can a Grizzly Bear Run?

Grizzly Bear Running in the Wild

A grizzly bear weighs about 700 to 1,700 pounds and runs at an average speed of 35 mph for short distances.

Of course, while running long distances, the speed decreases just as it is with humans.

Generally, bears are fast and consistent racers; a bear can maintain a speed of 25 to 28 mph for 2 miles. Under dire circumstances like an attack, grizzlies can run at a top speed of 40 mph. 

Bears do not only run fast; they run far. Humans can’t run long distances with speed, endurance, and consistency like them. 

The National Park Service has a story that a female brown bear who had just woke from hibernation chased a car to a distance of two miles because it made her lose sight of her cubs.

Even if you could run at high speed as a human, you cannot have the endurance to maintain it for that long.

Fun Fact

Because of the nature of their legs, many believe that bears can not run downhill as they will stand a danger of falling. However, it is just a myth; Instead, their forelegs do the opposite. Interestingly, grizzly bears can keep pace with a horse going downhill, but not uphill.

What Makes a Bear Run So Fast?

A few body features of a grizzly bear make it possible for them to run at high speed. They have muscle mass-topped shoulder blades that power their forelimbs to run and climb.

Their back legs are longer than their fire legs, allowing them to achieve great speed.

Also, they have claws that grow up to four inches long, which sink into soft surfaces while they run.

However, their claws can hinder their running ability on hard surfaces; hence we can say that soft and rough surfaces, as well as their body features, makes them run fast.

When Do Bears Run Fast? 

Brown Bear Running Fast

Bears can run so fast, but it is highly obtainable when they are in their highest spirit of athleticism.

A Grizzly bear will not be able to achieve the feat of running at the speed of 30–40 mph after hibernation as it loses over 15% to 30% of its body weight due to starvation and inactiveness associated with hibernation.

Can You Outrun a Bear? 

When standing on its hind legs, a bear can be eight to nine feet tall when standing on its hind legs, enough to terrify every human.

Many will think that the only option at this point is to run, but that is the worst option. You may have heard this before; ” you see a bear.”

You cannot outrun a bear! A human’s average speed for a short distance, say 100 meters, is 25 km/h (16 mph) and slower when running a long distance, which is nothing near the average speed of a bear.

Even the fastest known human in the history of sprinting, Usain Bolt, at his peak, is seven mph slower than the average speed of a grizzly bear. Imagine then what it will be like to be in a race with a bear.

What to Do When You See a Bear

A Bear Standing on Dry Grass

There are many ways to avoid a bear’s attention when hiking, sprinting, or any wilderness activity.

But if a bear comes your way by any chance, running is never among them. Below are what to do: 

Make a loud noise

Just as you wouldn’t want to see them, bears do not like being close to humans either.

So, when in the wilderness, you should make enough noise to alert them of your presence and send them off from you.

Do not let them sniff your food’s scent

Avoid inviting these creatures over involuntarily with your food.

Bears can sniff the scent of food, and when they do, they will come to look for it. To avoid this, pack your food well.

Stay calm when you meet a bear

If you get to meet one, stay calm. Do not run fast; if you can maintain your calm and avoid unexpected movements or loud sounds, chances are that the bear will leave you alone and go away.

Attempt to communicate

You can try to talk to the bear in a low-pitched voice to show that you are not an animal but a human.

You can climb something high to make yourself bigger or calmly wave your hands. While doing these, make sure you do not chaotically do them.

Slowly walk away

Carefully begin to walk away slowly, try as much as possible to do this without fully backing the wolf.

Move to the side to enable you to see what you are doing and continue that way until you are very far from the bear.

Use bear pepper spray

Bring along bear pepper spray when you’re going to their habitat. Pepper spray swells their eyes, nose, and lungs, causing them blurry sight and difficulty in breaching.

It works more effectively when sprayed from a distance of 4-9 ft.

It wouldn’t kill the animal, so do not fret; the effect lasts for about 45 minutes, which is enough for you to make a run.

Also See: Can Grizzly Bears Climb Trees? (How Fast & How High?)

Related Questions

How fast can a grizzly bear run 100 yards?

Since grizzly bears can sustain a speed of up to 30 miles per hour, they could cover 100 yards in 8 to 9 seconds.

Why do bears run so fast?

Bears are predators, so they run fast to catch up with their prey. They also run to escape danger and predators. Bears mostly fight to protect their food and babies.

Bottom Line

It is very important to know the dominant specie of bear in the area you are going and to look out for them. As different species require different approaches.

For example, you are expected to make eye contact, make mild noise and try to appear bigger by waving your hand when you see a black bear but trying that with a brown bear could be very dangerous.

To sum it up, bears can run so fast, especially grizzlies especially can reach 35 mph.

When going close to their habitat, keep a bear pepper spray with you, but if you follow the tips above effectively, you might not have to use it.  Do not try to run because you cannot outrun a bear.

Reference: Yellowstone National Park