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How Strong Are Grizzly Bears? (Compared)

Also known as the North American brown bear, the grizzly bear is an omnivorous bear that lives in forest, woodlands, parries, and alpine meadows. It’s estimated that North America is home to around 55,000 wild grizzly bears. An adult grizzly bear can be anywhere between 7 and 10 feet tall.

While the size of a grizzly bear can vary, the average grizzly bear is astonishingly strong. Just how strong is a grizzly? Read on to find out!

Key Takeaways:

  • Grizzly bears have a lift force of 700 pounds
  • One grizzly bear can be as strong as 5 humans
  • The bite force of a grizzly bear is 975 PSI or higher
  • Grizzly bears can deliver 600 pounds of power in a paw swipe
  • The grizzly bear is an apex predator

How Strong Are Grizzly Bears?

Grizzly bears are one of the world’s strongest mammals. A grizzly bear can lift 500 pounds with a single paw, and when it uses its full strength, it can lift much more. In fact, a single grizzly bear has the strength of anywhere from 2.5 to 5 adult humans!

It’s estimated that grizzlies can lift between 0.8 and 1 times their body weight. Female grizzly bears weigh between 700 and 800 pounds, and males can weigh as much as 1,700 pounds. This means that many grizzly bears can lift more than 1,000 pounds!

In addition to its brute strength, the grizzly bear also has extremely powerful jaws. The bite force of a grizzly bear is estimated to be between 975 and 1,160. Just one bite from a grizzly bear can cause serious damage.

grizzly bear

Grizzly bears are also hard hitters. When a grizzly bear swipes another animal with its paw, it can deliver more than 600 pounds of force. With its powerful paw swipe and long, sharp claws, a grizzly bear is capable of taking out many animals with a single blow.

What makes the grizzly bear so strong? These bears have developed powerful muscles that are able to support their large bodies. Even though the grizzly bear hibernates in winter, its muscles don’t weaken while it rests. The bear is able to boost its amino acid production during hibernation, which means it wakes up as strong as ever!

Are Grizzly Bears the Strongest Bear?

The strength of the grizzly bear is astonishing, but there are bears that are even stronger. The largest bear species, the polar bear, can lift icebergs that weigh over 1,000 pounds. Polar bears also have a bite force of over 1,200 PSI, giving them some of the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom.

Kodiak bears, which can be more than 10 feet tall, are another bear species that’s shockingly strong. These bears have a mass of muscles on their back that give its front paws extra power. The Kodiak bear also has very powerful jaws, with a bite force of around 1,100 PSI.

There are other bear species that are known for their strength, such as Kamchatka brown bears, American black bears, and Ussuri brown bears, but these bears can’t beat the mighty grizzly! Even though the grizzly bear isn’t the strongest type of bear, it’s still an amazingly powerful creature.

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How Strong Are Grizzly Bears Compared to Humans?

A single grizzly bear has the strength of up to 5 humans. Humans have an average bite force of 162 PSI, which isn’t much when compared to the 975 PSI bite force of a grizzly. Even an expert martial artist can’t generate anywhere near the amount of force a grizzly can produce with just one paw swipe.

It’s clear that humans can’t compete with the grizzly bear when it comes to strength, but thankfully, humans and these bears rarely have to go head-to-head. Grizzlies don’t consider humans to be a food source, and these bears will only attack humans if they believe that their life is under threat.

As long as humans don’t get too close, grizzly bears will generally ignore them. Even though the grizzly bear is one of the deadliest animals in the world, it’s not known for being aggressive. With that said, if a grizzly bear does choose to pursue a human, the human won’t just be able to run away. Humans have an average run speed of 8 MPH, but the grizzly can run 35 to 40 MPH.

Is a Grizzly Bear Stronger Than a Gorilla?

The grizzly bear is one of the world’s strongest land mammals, but the gorilla is even stronger. While the lift force of a grizzly bear is 700 pounds, a gorilla has a lift force of 1,800 pounds. Gorillas also have a significantly stronger bite, with an estimated bite force of 1,300 PSI.

Grizzly bear claws
Grizzly bear claws | image by Scott Calleja via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

With that said, the grizzly bear still has some advantages over a gorilla in a head-to-head fight. Thanks to its strong paws, a grizzly bear can still hit harder than a gorilla can. A gorilla has a swipe force of 12,500 lb.ft./s, but the swipe force of a grizzly bear is more than double that at 25,200 lb.ft./s.

Grizzly bears are also larger and heavier than gorillas, and in spite of their size, they’re able to move at faster speeds. Even though the grizzly bear is an omnivore, it’s the apex predator of its environment, which isn’t true of a gorilla. A gorilla might be able to beat a grizzly bear in a lifting contest, but there’s a good chance that the grizzly would win in a head-to-head fight.


Grizzly bears are large, agile, and shockingly strong. Not only are these bears strong, but they have powerful bites and hard-hitting paws. Although there are a few bears, like the polar bear, that can rival the grizzly bear in the strength department, the grizzly is still one of the strongest land mammals in the world.

Thankfully, even though a grizzly bear could make short work of a human, humans don’t have much to fear from these bears. Grizzly bears aren’t aggressive and don’t see humans as a food source. A grizzly may attack a human if it gets too close, but humans are unlikely to be targeted as long as they keep a safe distance.