Bear cubs, like baby pandas, are beyond adorable. But can they be raised as pets? Here's what you need to know about pet bears. (Yes, you heard that right: PET BEARS.)
As children, we've always been taught to think of bears as cute. (Teddy bears, anyone?And who can forget Smokey the bear, who is always there to tell you about forest fires?) It's not until adulthood when we learn about potential dangers of these wild animals, especially if you are a camper or just love to be in the woods, the natural habitat of wild bears! So, not surprising, even though as crazy as it sounds, some people do have exotic animals like bears as pets.
Take Stepan for example: This seven-foot tall, 294-pound pet bear in Moscow, Russia lives with his humans, Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko. The couple adopted this domesticated pet bear when he was just an orphaned little three-month-old bear cub. Almost 28 years later, Stepan the brown bear is a loving part of the family whose favorite activity is watching TV with his humans. He even helps out around the house by watering plants. (In his defense, Stepan is awfully cute!)
But as cute as Stepan and other bears might be (There are actually a few in the United States, too, like Ohio's Archie and New York's Jimmy!), can bears actually be raised as exotic pets? And do they make good pets?
The answer is no, bears are not good pets.
As dang adorable as bear cubs can be, these furry little cuties grow. And when we say grow, we mean GROW. They don't stay small for long -- Adult bears can weigh up to be over 1,500 pounds fully grown and can tower over any human being when standing on their hind legs. Not to mention they can easily kill you (or at least seriously injure you) with just a small swipe of their very, very large paws.
Even animal trainers and bear owners with years of experience of handling a bear knows that their loving pet bear could easily kill them in an instant.
It's not uncommon to hear stories of people getting mauled by their pet bear, even if they are experienced wild animal handlers and the bears were always known to be a friendly and gentle bear. Bears are, and will always be, wild animals that won't hesitate to attack in an instant if they become moody or angry. You just can't expect to domesticate a bear like you would a domesticated dog.
So, here's a little advice from us to you -- just don't do it; pet bears are a really bad idea, at least it is if you like your hand and don't want to lose it, or any body part for that matter. Better stick to seeing these omnivores in bear country and stop fantasizing that pet bears can be like cute and cuddly pet teddy bears.
Ever thought about having a bear as a pet? Let us know in the Facebook comments!