Bears are Bad News

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"I do fear bears. They're giant, marauding, godless killing machines."

Stephen Colbert, on bears.

Want to make a bad situation worse? Add a bear!

Just as monkeys and penguins are guaranteed to make something funnier or cuter, bears have a knack for scaring the crap out of everyone. Being the largest extant land-based predators in the world, with a penchant for aggressive behavior, might be a reason for that (polar bears, the largest of bear species, can weigh up to 1500 pounds and have been known to hunt walruses and beluga whales). Because of this, throwing a bear into a scene is the best way to let the audience know that our heroes have gone beyond rock bottom and are now totally screwed.

It's also a great way to raise the credentials of your villain or Anti-Hero if you give them a bear. Especially as a mount, because there's nothing more cool than riding a bear.

... Except maybe a robot bear or zombie bear, or a bear made of fire or ice. Or a shark, or a wolf pack, or bees, whose honey is bound to attract the bears. Note that this trope only seems to apply to adult bears. Cubs are treated in the same way other cute cuddly animals would be treated. Pandas as well, regardless of age. Polar bears also tend to get a bit less of a bad rap than brown bears and black bears; their prominence in shows dealing with their vulnerability to melting ice caps makes them The Woobie in some people's eyes.[1]

This is very often an Obligatory Joke in a story with a Horrible Camping Trip. Compare with Grumpy Bear, where a bear can't get the respect it deserves and Mama Bear, where the bear will make things worse for you when you mess with her cubs.

Bears have such a long history of scaring the Pooh out of human beings that most of the names we've ever given them are derived from conciliatory euphemisms, as part of an old taboo against naming something so dangerous. The English word 'bear' originally meant "brown one", and the Slavic word medved originally meant "honey eater". The original Proto-Indo-European word such words are avoiding was related to the word for "harm" or "injury", proving just how ancient this particular Primal Fear is.

Do not confuse this with the gay slang for a big hairy Manly Gay guy, who are mostly not scary. In Australia, you should watch out for Drop Bears.

The subversion of this would be Beary Funny, or Beary Cute, or perhaps a teddy bear, but even then...

Examples of Bears are Bad News include:


  • An old Pepsi commercial had five bears emerging from the wilderness to terrorize a small town by spelling out "Pepsi" in a distinctly "YMCA"-style dance. After the townspeople fearfully comply to the beasts' request, a man remarks, "We'll be helpless if they ever learn the Macarena."
    • Coca-Cola, on the other hand, is known for its commercials with cute and friendly polar bears, quite a subversion.
  • Is it any wonder that Sugar Bear is the only cereal mascot who successfully runs off anyone who tries to take his Golden Crisp as opposed to all the other sorry saps like Lucky and the Trix Rabbit?
    • During the sugar-is-now-evil transition from Super Sugar Crisp to Super Golden Crisp in the 1980s, Sugar Bear could turn himself into Super Bear. Super Bear was basically a realistic-looking grizzly bear with no traces of cuddliness whatsoever. Eventually, Post figured out that a scary carnivore might not be the best mascot for a children's cereal, and the concept was dropped.
    • In the early '60s, when Sugar Bear became a sweater-wearing hipster, his tv ads showed him barging into sweet old Granny's house and stealing her cereal. A thieving nuisance, but at least he was mellow and good-natured.
  • According to the Boston Bruins hockey team, if you do not follow the unwritten rules and etiquette of being a hockey fan, a giant bear will find you and kick your ass. And when it's done doing that, it will dance.
  • Want someone to bully campers into putting out their fires?
  • McDonald's is apparently so delicious that even bears will attack your car for it. In one memorable commercial, the Hamburglar planned to scare Ronald and the others out of their cheeseburgers with a bear costume, but they were onto him; they planned to humor him for a while, but unfortunately, a real bear came along first, who they mistook for him. Suffice to say, Hilarity Ensued.
  • Orangina has a dancing bear for its commercial who is about to attack a doe... until he sees the doe drinking Orangina!
  • How could a Panda Bear be evil?
  • Australian rum brand Bundaberg Rum features a polar bear as its mascot, the Bundy Bear, who prominently features in their advertising. Things do tend to be worse with "Bundy" around, but that's got more to do with how he's an enormous Troll to tourists.
  • This bear working in the movie business is almost a subversion, weren't it for the occasional tantrum. Also, he seems to be very fond of Stuff Blowing Up.
  • A Capri-Sun commercial has a kid beating a giant cyborg bear with the straw from his pouch.

Anime and Manga

  • Bizarrely drawn (and bizarrely voiced...seriously, they emit some kind of screech instead of growling) bears shows up several times in Haré+Guu. Actually, this is counted as normal for this anime.
  • Senri in +Anima. Especially when his eyepatch comes off on a large mountain and he starts attacking everyone. The only way it stopped was by both the Power of Friendship and Cooro putting his Eyepatch of Power back on.
  • Sherwood the Monster Princess (not Hime, her sister) from Princess Resurrection has blood-immortal empowered bears as her Servants. They have, for example, ripped to shreds an army of lesser vampires.
  • Pokémon has Ursaring, a giant grizzly bear Pokémon that is easily annoyed during mating season, being awakened during hibernation, or just on general principle. It has one of the highest attack base stats in the game. Also, it can fire laser beams from its mouth. A memorable episode of Pokémon has the entire cast chased around a forest by enraged Ursaring during a time when they were preparing to give birth.
    • Fittingly, it's one of the best Pokémon for the move Frustration. And if it's crippled by an opponent, it doubles either its attack strength or its speed.
    • Ash's rival Paul has one of these Ursaring. It has actually caused one of Ash's Pokémon to lose consciousness out of fear. And how it battles; if it had a nickname, it would be Rape Bear.
      • Considering Ash is still a kid, wouldn't it be Pedobear?
      • Ursaring cares not for his victim's age or general look. He merely destroys.
    • There is also the Johto League Champions episode "UnBEARable", which features the group coming across a wild Teddiursa who uses its cuteness and Charm attack to great effect on trainers. That and it has the nasty habit of stealing a Trainer's food and putting the blame on one of the Trainer's Pokémon. It evolves into Ursaring at the end of the episode, and everyone thinks that it won't be able to play its tricks anymore. Of course, Team Rocket are still enticed by its Charm at the end.
      • It bears mentioning that, even though said Ursaring still tries to invoke Cuteness Overload, the effect is lost on Team Rocket. The fact that Ursaring tend to be fearsome, strong Pokémon is the reason why they let it join them.
  • Even Ranma ½ includes an unbearable example. While in the original manga, Ranma fought Cologne on the beach while she summoned a shark to assist her, in the anime, the fight instead takes place in a mountain resort, where in an even more outlandish fashion, she creates an ice sculpture of a bear that she can levitate and use to attack on a whim.
    • When Ranma, Genma, and Soun need to retrieve the scroll of a Dangerous Forbidden Technique from a women's Onsen Episode before Happosai does, they have the bright idea of painting Genma's cursed form (an 7-foot-tall panda bear) to resemble a huge, voracious bear and scare off the women. Unfortunately, the only paint they had on hand was white...
Cue the beatings.
    • In the manga, Ryū Kumon is introduced by soundly beating up an escaped bear that was attacking Nodoka (before Ranma could even intervene).
    • Let's not forget Genma himself, turns into a giant panda when wet, and one of the worst Abusive Parents ever. Of course, he already had that (dis)honor before he was cursed...
  • In Sekirei, the animal avatar that represents Musubi is a bear. Musubi herself is the Determinator type, and the Bear-Fist is one of her attacks.
  • In Koihime Musou's Hot Springs Episode, Rinrin comes across a bear that she thinks is a little cub she raised when she was a kid. It isn't. Cue fleeing from angry bear.
  • In Kamen no Maid Guy, after training in the mountains, Naeka feels as though she could take on a bear. She finds herself staring down a growling grizzly moments later, courtesy of Kogarashi. Turns out she's not as ready as she thought.
  • A similar incident occurs in History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi. Kenichi, annoyed by his training in the mountains, throws a rock at what he thinks is his eldest master secretly watching him. It turns out to be, you guessed it, a bear. Despite being a fan of How-To books, Kenichi does exactly the wrong things in trying to escape this particular bear.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima takes the Mama Bear to literal levels, having a bear named Mama serve as the Apron Matron in charge of Ako, Akira, and Natsumi. She beats up anyone who dares abuse the girls serving under her.
    • Earlier in the series, Negi along with Ninja Kaede (only he was scared) are chased through the woods by a bear while carrying a giant cookable mushroom.
  • The anime Silver Fang features bears in the role of antagonists, which is somewhat logical considering that the protagonist is an Akita bear-dog. The Big Bad, Aka Kabuto, is particularly demonic in aspect, being an insane, one-eyed, red-haired grizzly-bear.
    • You would be too if you had a bullet in your brain, fucking up your winter sleep forcing you to stay awake the whole year.
  • Teddy Bomber from the Cowboy Bebop episode "Cowboy Funk".
  • In Futakoi Alternative a loan shark walks around with a polar bear for some extra muscle.
  • One of the most famous scenes in Hajime no Ippo has Takamura fighting against an angry bear to save his own life, after Ippo and the other Kamogawa boxers ran away from it when all of them were training in the mountains. Takamura actually wins against the bear in a hilarious and awesome moment. Despite that, Takamura spares the bears life after he sees it's actually a Mama Bear with two cubs crying for it. The whole incident leaves Takamura with three giant scars on his chest and gaining him the title "Bear Slayer" after the thing hits the news. It also doubles with the Remember When You Blew Up a Sun? trope, as Takamura never shies away from reminding others that beat a goddamn bear.
  • In My Heavenly Hockey Club, the hockey club runs afoul of a bear during a trip in the woods... and it makes a strong connection with Hana. Eventually they try to teach it to play field hockey so they can use it as a goalie in an upcoming game... but contrary to what they'd hoped, it's immediately noticed to be a bear and carted off, perpetuating the Running Gag of the team never getting to actually play a single game.
  • The World Is Mine has an overall bear motif: A giant bear-like creature called Hakumadon is attacking Japan, rampaging through whole towns and turning anyone who encounters it into slurry ("My daughter followed my mother into the woods and they both came back in a bucket!"). One of the two Mad Bomber Serial Killers, Mon, always carries a stuffed teddy bear which is implied to be the only friend he had as a child. When Mon encounters Hakumadon, his partner Toshi dies and he gets shredded... but both miraculously survive, the only evidence being Mon's slashed teddy bear. When Mon and Hakumadon meet again, another character thinks he sees Mon once more getting killed, but again he survives. A few characters wonder if Hakumadon is a god sent to reclaim the earth or that it and Toshi+Mon are in a "killing contest". In reality, Hakumadon is an American shock-and-awe weapon/robot that went out of control -- imagine the Big Dog rig but three stories tall, covered in shaggy fur with yard-long teeth and claws. Appears to have been inspired by the "Sankebetsu Brown Bear Incident" (see Real Life).
  • The Beast Master Maeda Matsu in the Sengoku Basara anime, in a fit of temper, ultimately calls up a bear to attack her brother-in-law Keiji. Keiji is already making a hasty retreat and the bear attacks Matsu's husband Toshiie instead (though Toshiie comes out of it more or less fine since the whole thing is played for laughs).
  • In One Piece, the original Seven Warlords of the Sea all have an animal theme. Bartholomew Kuma's is, naturally, a bear. Both times he's appeared to antagonize the Straw Hats, things went south fast for the heroes. However, Kuma can also be a subversion, the first time appeared Zoro was able to appeal to Kuma's honor to be allowed to sacrifice himself in place of Luffy. In the Shabaody Islands, Kuma's arrival was what saved the Straw Hats, despite initial appearances.
    • We also get Kumacy, Perona's giant zombie teddy bear. He shows up in the middle of Ussop's fight with Perona—that's already going pretty badly, mind you - and delivers a nasty No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that forces the sniper to Take a Level In Badass just to survive it.
    • One of Trafalgar Law's crew members is a bear in a jumpsuit. It knows kung-fu.
    • And then there's anime episode 504. Full stop.
  • Death Panda, by Waita Uziga (yes, him).
  • Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun starts with the main character fighting a bear twice his size - and several moments later it shows that his sister has beaten an even larger one.
  • While Kinnikuman is training for his match with Warsman, Mari-chan is attacked by a bear and he has to save her. It puts him in the Palo Special, which he counters with a Kinniku Buster.
  • In Naruto, a flashback shows a young Karin being threatened by an almost comically-oversized bear while her teammates are nowhere to be found. Sasuke then comes by and drop-kicks it.
    • We later see more of them on the island Killer Bee and A trained on including one with an eyepatch. Bee apparently spends some of his "vacation" time sumo-wrestling them.
  • General Olivier Armstrong's Badass Army in Fullmetal Alchemist is nicknamed the "Briggs Bears".
  • Speaking of Arakawa's manga, this trope is played for laughs in Silver Spoon, when a Beware Of Bears sign in the woods makes our hero so nervous that he mistakes an approaching horse for a bear.
  • The manga Ooku starts with a young boy getting mauled by a bear while picking mushrooms in the forest. And then the Gendercide plague hits his family and spreads throughout Japan. The two may or may not be related
  • In Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, while searching for a lost girl, Sherlock comes across a bear. She tries to play nice with it, but this is a bear that can uppercut. That the bear knocks her into the sky and off the cliff is a major catalyst for the episode. When Sherlock, Kokoro and Airi come across that same bear later, it's still almost invincible.
  • Almost played straight in Hayate the Combat Butler, during a school hiking trip, one of the groups is terrorized by a huge bear. Which is then turned into a pet by Isumi.
  • Saint Seiya: Some of the training scenes feature fighting bears with their bare hands as a means of showing how dangerous it is.
  • Yaiba: When the revenant warrior Goemon Ishikawa Turns Red he transforms into a huge, armored Bear-Man armed with dual sais and Fuuma Shuriken.
  • Early on, the eponymous Grappler Baki has to wrestle a monster bear as Training from Hell.
  • While training in the mountains, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple encounters an angry bear. He proceeds to try and avoid it in all the wrong ways, while the correct ways are listed in the narration.
  • In Softenni, the girls run into a bear about three times the size of an average human in the mountains. Kurusu not only fights it to a draw (while naked), she lets the bear give the team a ride up the mountain.
  • Holo of Spice and Wolf finds out that her hometown was destroyed by a gigantic bear spirit.
  • The Digimon franchise has Grizzmon, an Adult-level grizzly bear. He's appeared twice in different anime series: first in the Digimon Frontier movie as the commander of the Beast Digimon army, and many appear late in Digimon Xros Wars as a staple Mook species in Apollomon's army. Expanded universe material bills the species as ferocious warriors with honourable spirits. Related is Bearmon, Grizzmon's lesser Child-level incarnation who takes the form of a bear cub, also appearing in the Frontier movie and Xros Wars.
  • Inverted in Haruhi-chan. In one episode, Tsuruya claims that she once defeated a bear.

Comic Books

  • In one of Garth Ennis' more bizarrely hilarious moments, The Punisher falls into a polar bear enclosure at a zoo. Hearing the bad guy mooks in pursuit, Frank punches the nearest bear. Frank escapes, and the enraged bear attacks the bad guys. The finale includes Frank throwing the big bad into the bear pit and letting the bears chew her arms and legs off.
  • One graphic novel in the Blacksad series had an (anthropomorphic) polar bear heading the "Arctic Nation", a Nazi/KKK fusion white-fur supremacy group. Of course, the leader was undercover.
    • In the first album one of Statoc's enforcers is a brown bear.
  • A zombie bear (Ursa Major, of the (of course) Russian Avengers) appears in Marvel Zombies. It bites down on Machine Man's head where he impales it with spikes and rips it apart.
  • The British comic 2000 AD had an ongoing strip about Shako, a polar bear Villain Protagonist supposedly inspired by the shark in Jaws, thus neatly combining the worst aspects of both bears and sharks.
  • The archenemy of the New Mutants Dani Moonstar is the Demon Bear, a gigantic spectral bear who steals souls and seemed to have killed her parents.
  • In a story by Wilhelm Busch, a bear eats the donkey of Saint Anthony, but Anthony makes the bear carry him instead.
  • One darkly hilarious moment in Girls has a guy try to ward off a grizzly bear by kicking him in the testicles. It goes about as well for him as you'd expect.
  • Mark Meachum, a.k.a the Grizzly, is a former professional wrestler turned supervillain, and is among the many animal-themed baddies in Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery. His grizzly bear suit and accompanying exoskeleton harness give him incredible strength and some threatening claws to boot, but he can be surprisingly chill when the situation calls for it.

Fan Works

John Freeman got quiet then dropped weapon and said "I have to kill fast and bullets too slow" and started killing Combines with bear hands.


  • The 1966 film The Night of the Grizzly is one of the earliest "Killer Bear" films.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: the prospect of a woman joining the news team will raise the possibility of the network being overwhelmed by bear attacks as they are attracted to her menses; at the film's climax the hero and heroine must defend themselves after falling into the bear pit at the zoo.
  • The all but forgotten 1979 eco-horror flick Prophecy features mercury-crazed, skinless, gooey mutant bears that crave human flesh.
    • Or it at least looked somewhat like a mutant monster. To quote Leonard Maltin, it looked kind of like "a salami."
  • In Back to The Future Part III, Marty discovers that the cave he hid in houses a bear. He runs.
  • Spaceballs: Spaceball-1 is about to self-destruct, and the bad guys are trying to get to their escape pods, but since it's a Mel Brooks movie, there were also a bunch of circus folk on the ship, and they took all of the escape pods. There was also a bear, to make this part more hilarious. It scared President Skroob.
    • Even funnier when you remember that the circus was ordered closed earlier in the film by Lord Helmet as punishment.
  • The White Witch in The Film of the Book of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe leads her army from atop a chariot pulled by polar bears.
  • Semi-Pro "Everybody panic! Oh my God there's a bear loose in the stadium! There will be no refunds!"
    • Funny Aneurysm Moment: The trainer for that bear was killed by said bear later that year.
      • And the bear got put down.
  • In The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, the horrible disembowellings by the mutant are at first attributed to a bear.

Ranger Brad: In my time as a forest ranger, I've seen bears do things not even a bear would do.

  • This trope sums up The Edge, with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin.
  • In Outlander, Kainan and several Vikings go searching for the creature that slaughtered an entire village. They find a giant bear. While the bear is bad enough in its own right, it wasn't the creature that slaughtered the village—and the Vikings assume that it was, and stop searching.
  • While forbidden from eating men, the Grendel is apparently able to eat bears and wolves.
  • Although the original film The Wicker Man had no bears, The Remake has scenes of Nicolas Cage in a bear suit. And it is, indeed, worse.
  • The film Grizzly featured a giant prehistoric killer bear going on a killing spree on ranger's station; the bear's claws are so sharp he can cut off a person's arms and decapitate a horse with a single swipe.
  • In Lake Placid, the group is chased and menaced by a bear...only for the gigantic crocodile to lunge out of the water and eat it.
  • In Road to Utopia, bears intrude in the cabin and Bob Hope mistakes one of them for his girlfriend while he groped its paw and commented on its long claws. One of them even talks.
  • The Great Outdoors features a large bear (rumored to be a man-eater) which had her head fur removed via shotgun many years earlier by John Candy's character. This bear shows up toward the end of the movie and is shot in the butt with the shotgun lamp, causing the raccoons to make fun of her.
  • The 13th Warrior features man-eating bear-monsters as the primary antagonists who turn out to be neolithic cavemen wearing bearskins.
  • In Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the two lead kids get menaced by a polar bear (or at least a man in a laughably awful polar bear costume).
  • In The Love Bug, as Thorndyke's car is stuck in mud and his assistant Havershaw attempts to push it out, a bear enters the car, enticed by the food they had. After they get out, Thorndyke immediately takes off without Havershaw, but because his racing goggles are heavily smeared with mud, he doesn't realize there's a bear until he strikes it, making it growl and prompting him to faint.
  • Br'er Bear in Song of the South certainly qualifies.
  • The mascot of the high school in the 1982 slasher flick Girls Nite Out is a bear. The killer steals the costume and gives it Wolverine Claws.
  • Claws, a hard to find film from the 80s.
  • Several direct-to-video films including Grizzly Park, Bear and Grizzly Rage.
  • Savage Planet featured space bears.
  • The 1990 Japanese film Yellow Fangs (Rimeinzu Utsukushiki Yūshatachi), which was based upon the Sankebetsu brown bear incident.
  • An amusing example shows up in the film Shoot to Kill.
  • 2015's Into the Grizzly Maze.
  • The Three Stooges met with foul-tempered bears on more than one occasion. They were a little more civilized than the trope usually allows for; one even proved capable of driving a car and signaling for a turn.
  • While a fairly solid movie that finally got Leonardo DiCaprio his long-deserved Oscar, The Revenant is remembered primarily for one thing: the vicious mama grizzly that mauls Hugh Glass in one of the most realistically portrayed, horrifying bear attacks in cinema.
  • The 1976 film Grizzly. It's Jaws, WITH A BEAR! Yeah, the movie poster here doesn't even try to deny that, and characters in the film even take note that grizzly bears are rare in the area (wherever that is) and that this one is much larger than a typical specimen.
  • Chewbacca of Star Wars fame is a Wookie, a bear-like alien whose strength and skill with a bowcaster make him very bad news for the Empire. The same goes for the Ewoks, which are another race of bear-like aliens that are far smaller and cuter than Wookies, but are still good in a fight and have an appetite for human flesh.
  • The climax of The Fox and the Hound, where a bear is portrayed as some demonic beast spawned from the depths of Hell.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has living gummy bears trying to take out a Flying Car gremlin style, until being stopped by a gummy bear loving monkey.
  • Seemingly played straight in Brother Bear, when the main character sees bears as irritations at first and goes on to full-blown hatred towards them after one inadvertently caused his brother's death. Subverted when he turns into one and finds out that bears actually aren't so terrible.
  • Cocaine Bear is a horror movie where the "villain" is a bear who wanders into a drug smuggling cartel's stash of cocaine, eats it, and becomes mad with rage via the painful withdrawal. Of course, while the bear does seem to be quite the savage monster and achieve an impressive kill-count, you really have to feel sorry for the poor animal. While it does survive the ending, it is wounded, and still has a long recovery ahead that it will have to endure alone - sad fact is, its chances are not high.


  • Gone to absolutely ridiculous and eventually cinematic extremes in David Fletcher's Hunted: A True Story of Survival, in which a literal Mama Bear goes after the writer for killing her cub and it only ends when the writer manages to crush the bear under tons of ice. The kicker? It's supposed to be based on a "true story".
  • In the Chivalric Romance Valentine and Oursson, an abandoned boy is raised by a bear, and ends up a Wild Man of the Woods.
  • Averted by Terry Bisson in his short story "Bears Discover Fire."
  • One of the most memorable scenes from the American Girls Collection involves Kirsten Larson and an angry mama bear. Naturally, the illustration of the event was used for the cover of the latest edition. The associated meme has become one of the more well-known in the fandom.
  • The favored combat morph for Rachel in Animorphs. She acquired it specifically because she knew the team was taking on their most dangerous mission yet. Also, the characters consider their polar bear morphs (biggest land predator) to the baddest of their Badass. They only bust them out for serious shock value and mayhem.
  • In Clive Barker's Sacrament, the main character is mauled by a bear and ends up in a coma.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files:
    • Death Masks: the Denarians are first introduced. The first of them? Ursiel, a monstrous demonic bear rampaging through the alleys. It takes all three Knights of the Cross to take him down. Compare later battles where the Knights go one-on-one with the Nickelheads, or when Ivy takes on a large group singlehandedly. Some Tropers have blamed Inverse Ninja Law... but good grief, it's a bear!!
    • Turn Coat: they threw fireballs at the naagloshii, they threw lightning bolts, werewolves, vampires, heavy arms fire, the fires of creation that angels use. Nothing worked. What kicks its ass? Someone turned into a bear. A bear the size of a minibus.
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The group, in the third book, has to fight a giant zombie cyborg bear god, named "Shardik" in reference to the Richard Adams novel about a similar creature.
  • Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials has panserbjorne, sapient polar bears who wear full plate armor forged from meteoric iron. The name literally means "armored bears", but colloquially could be taken as "tank bears".
    • In The Movie they are called "Isbjorne", meaning "ice bears" or polar bears. Not as intimidating, but you do not want to run into a polar bear anywhere.
    • It's worth of noting that they are morally neutral, with their current king Iorek Byrnisson as a friend to the protagonists. Nonetheless, one should pity the ones that are enemies to the bears...
  • Although they don't have flamethrowers, bears in the Spellsinger series are among the most physically-formidable of all Warmlanders. Several of the bad guys use bears as Mooks, or recruit a bear as The Dragon.
  • The first book in The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness has a giant, evil, demon-possessed bear that pretty much exists to kill things. If you suddenly can't see or hear any other animals, start praying.
  • Rasputin, a former circus bear which can drink beer and throw hand grenades, is adopted by the 27th Penal Panzer Regiment in Sven Hassel's The Bloody Road to Death. Porta is distraught when it gets killed in action.
    • This, by the way, is based on fact (though the bear is fighting on the wrong side).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: When the wights attack The Fist in A Storm of Swords, they have a reanimated undead bear in tow. Cue pants pissing.
    • A Storm of Swords also gives us the famous scene in which Brienne the Beauty is dropped into a pit with a bear that's angry, starved, and has basically been trained entirely to kill and devour men. Her only weapons? A blunted sword and a lacy pink dress. She holds her own until The Cavalry arrives.
  • In the Belgariad, males of a certain family possess the power to spontaneously become bears when the Rivan King is threatened. Given that they're already from the local Viking analogue, this just makes them more dangerous.
    • Fittingly, they're from a culture that worships Belar, the bear god. It's not certain whether this is just a happy coincidence or a very direct blessing from Belar himself, but it is definitely awesome. There is also an extremist sect devoted to Belar known as the Bear-Cult. In the Belgariad they're a mild annoyance, but in the Mallorean they definitely make things worse. Belar, meanwhile, generally appears as a young blond-haired warrior, and not a bear.
  • A set of three novellas by Gordon R. Dickson was collected into The Right to Arm Bears. The Dilbians, bear-like natives of the planet Dilbia, have The Plan as their hat.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, the protagonists stay in the home of Beorn on their journey, and are warned not to go outside at night. The reason? He turns into a bear.
    • Even worse is his appearance at the Battle of Five Armies. "He came alone, and in bear's shape, and seemed to have grown almost to giant-size in his wrath." He charges through the entire Goblin army to retrieve Thorin's body, then does it again to chase down and kill Bolg, the Goblin chieftain.
    • Though, unusually, Beorn and his descendants are good folks. They are also the prototypes for D&D werebears, whose alignment is lawful good.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia has the dozy, good-hearted Bulgy Bears in Prince Caspian, a couple of dangerous non-talking bears, and the perpetually confused (though good fighter) Talking Bear in The Last Battle. In sum, for the protagonists, everything is pretty much even with bears.
    • There is also a bear mentioned in the round-up at the end of The Horse and His Boy, but there is nothing much wrong with that one that a good fist-fight won't put right.
    • Prince Caspian also provides a straight example of the trope when Lucy was attacked by a non-talking bear when they were traveling to meet the Narnian army. It serves as a warning that Narnia as a whole is not the nice place they were rulers of.
  • Richard Adams' Shardik, as referenced in the Stephen King entry above, features a bear which is believed to personify the power of God. Whether or not this is true, the bear only ever seems to maul the bad guys.
  • In the Cambridge Latin Course series of plot-oriented textbooks, a bitter British chieftain attempts to kill his rival chieftain with a bear he has spent a year training for murder. The bear breaks free of control and goes on a rampage, nearly killing the king. The rampage is stopped by Quintus, who has a penchant for heroic animal abuse. Nobody ever said it made sense.
  • The Bear Kingdom trilogy by Michael Coleman, might as well be called Everything's Worse with Bears: The Series. It takes place in an Alternate Universe, where bears have taken over, and humans are nothing more than slaves/pets, and
  • In the Judge Dee story The Haunted Monastery, the judge, faced with a Complete Monster whose reputation and connections at the Imperial Court make him untouchable by the law, locks him in a room with an angry bear.
  • In Monster Hunter Vendetta, the MHI compound is attacked by an army of zombie animals, including at least one zombie bear that Owen and Agent Franks have to kill at close range.
  • In the Hoka stories, the aliens look like teddy bears, but they are indeed a menace. To your sanity, at least.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, Logistilla's bear is her guard, and it menaces some of her family on occasion.
  • Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-24 of The Bible, while walking up to Bethel, was insulted by some bandits. They had called him "bald head" and implied that he had been complicit in the death of Elijah. His response? Summoning two bears to come and maul 42 of them, making this trope Older Than Feudalism. There's a reason why this story isn't included in compilations of Bible stories meant for toddlers.
    • Also, David kills a bear and a lion that threaten his flock. People tend to forget that although he was only twelvish when he fought the giant Goliath, he was a pretty Badass kid.
    • Even God himself states that bears make things worse in Amos 5:19: "It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear."
  • In the first of Keith Taylor's Bard stories, "Fugitives in Winter", Felimid tricks the enraged king hunting him into following a false trail into a bear cave. He wasn't expecting the inhabitant to be a two-headed monster that refused to stop at killing just the king, though...
  • A bear tries to attack the hunter in The Fox and The Hound, but Chief saves him.
  • Averted in Remote Man. The situation gets worse because of the smugglers who target the bears, not the bears themselves.
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A little girl lost for weeks in the forest is bad enough. This is also the Appalachians.
  • Zig Zagged in Reverend Huuskonen's Beastly Manservant by Arto Paasilinna. Subverted in that the titular reverend adopts a bear cub, then a complicated series of events leads to him taking a grand tour or Eastern Europe all the way down to the Black Sea, training the bear to be an excellent manservant (unpacking suitcases, ironing and folding clothes, helping him during the sermons and running a bar with unrivalled efficiency). Played straight in that the bear's name is Beelzebub, and if you should threaten his master, he is still very much an adult male brown bear.
  • Zig Zagged in Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion series:
    • In The Curse of Chalion, the sick Roya Orico becomes much sicker when his pet bear is killed along with the rest of his menagerie, which was a gift from the Temple that magically kept him alive. But the leopard was the scary and dangerous animal.
    • In Paladin of Souls, a bear shows up, Foix dy Gura kills it, and the demon that was possessing the bear jumps into Foix.
    • In The Hallowed Hunt, Fafa the ice bear isn't killed, but:

Ijada: I was imagining the most bizarre things befalling you.
Ingrey: Did they include a six-hundred-pound ice bear and a pirate poet?
Ijada: No...
Ingrey: Then they weren't the most bizarre after all.

  • Grok from Star Risk, Ltd. is a nonhuman whose species strongly resembles bears. And he's not above using the resemblance to his advantage.

Live-Action TV

  • Walker, Texas Ranger featured bears a number of times, Episode 173 featuring a Nightmare Fuel powered one.
  • According to Scrubs, while unwanted pregnancy or STDs are not fun, "Losing a baseball scholarship because a bear ate your arm is a much worse consequence of sex." Probably true.
    • This line immediately follows a flashback in which Elliott, having parked in the woods with her high school boyfriend, starts drizzling honey on him as part of foreplay when a ravenous bear comes and breaches the car, eating the poor guy's arm.
  • One of the terrors of the horrible Mirror Universe in The Middleman.

Ivan Avi: I was born into an evil world. Skies choked with ammonia, seas full of benzine, baby farms! Random suffocations...bears...

  • A bear! You made a BEAR!!
    • I didn't mean to!
      • UNDO IT! UNDO IT!
  • Juken Sentai Gekiranger is a show about two competing schools of martial arts styled after animals. The evil school has Maku, one of the most ridiculously overpowered villains in the series. Guess what his power animal is?
    • The same goes for his Western counterpart in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, Grizzaka. Even the other villains are wary of pissing him off.
    • Earlier example from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3: The Yellow Ranger has the bear as their animal motif, having three mecha with the theme (two anthropomorphic, one not).
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger/Power Rangers Wild Force has the Rangers gain a pair of bear zords: a black bear and a polar bear, able to shoot beams of fire and ice respectively. The Bear Brothers turn out to be too powerful for the main megazord to use reliably, forcing the Rangers to find a stronger zord that could handle the bears' strength.
  • One episode of CSI is famous for use of the line, "The bear could be considered a lethal weapon."
  • A recent[when?] Monk had a bear show up... twice. Both times were plot-relevant.
  • An episode of the Animal Planet series River Monsters filmed in Alaska had a run-in with a grizzly where it stole a salmon the host had hooked right off his line, then came back again. Only when the guide accompanying him fired a warning shot from the huge revolver he was carrying did the bear finally leave.
  • A recent[when?] episode of Reaper had Sam trying to get someone to sell their soul, and being chased out of the guy's property by a polar bear. Which had been delivered to the Jerkass by the Devil. Andi in particular was amused. Sam was not.
  • A Saturday Night Live sketch had a bearologist. He decided to kill his wife by releasing the bear he was studying, who then proceeded to... pick up a gun from table and shoot her. (Which the scientist blamed on "too much TV", but the bear was revealed to be the bearologist's brother in disguise.)
    • Another sketch featured a world in which bears killed everyone and took on the role of humans.
  • Surviving Disaster, a non-fiction surviving disaster show, has an episode on how to survive an avalanche -- with a bear attack.
  • In the first season of Lost, the castaways are attacked by inexplicable polar bears on a couple of occasions.
  • Stephen Colbert is famous for his fear and hatred of bears (one once killed everything he loved), so naturally the featured film clip for his interview with The National Parks director Ken Burns features a river filled with almost a dozen grizzlies.

Colbert: That is the scariest film I've ever seen.

  • Inverted with David Letterman, who loves bears and was positively thrilled when Jack Hanna let him hold a pair of day-old cubs. In a more recent show, Hanna was recounting how he, his wife, and a family of hikers had a close encounter with a Mama Bear and her pair of two-year old cubs (ironically just after shooting a PSA for the National Parks) and Letterman felt it would've been a shame if Hannah was attacked because it would have meant the possible death of the bear.
  • In Northern Exposure, Holling Vincouer was once mauled by a bear (whom he named Jesse) while hunting. While recovering, he claimed to have a nightmare where he was pursued by all the animals he had hunted in the past. The experience changed Holling; while he had sworn vengeance against Jesse (to the point where Jesse had become his personal Moby Dick), he vowed never to hunt any animal other than Jesse except with a camera.
  • Dwight from The Office wisely fears bears. He once went to see a movie about bear attacks, but mistakenly walked into Wedding Crashers, he stayed, because "bears attack when you least expect it."
  • In an episode of Starsky and Hutch, Starsky gets kidnapped by a psycho Cult. Things go about as expected, and at one point whilst trying to escape he turns a corner and comes face to face with a bear. A very large bear. That he is supposed to fight. With a rock. Yeah.
  • In one episode of Highlander, Duncan McLeod is helping a fugitive Native American woman who has stolen the child of a white mine owner to replace her own child that died of poisoning from polluted water from the mine. During the night, a bear wanders into the log cabin in which they're sheltering.
  • One All That skit had the crew smothering an unlucky Butt Monkey reporter freezing in the tundra with honey to attract a nearby polar bear.
  • In the Married... with Children episode, "Bearly Men", Al and Bud go hunting with Peggy's father to prove their manliness. Al and Bud run into a bear (literally; they hit it with a car). Thinking it dead, they take the bear home... only for it to wake up and escape into Chicago. Al, Bud, and Peggy's father then have to go after it.
  • A demonic-looking bear actually shows up in The Teletubbies along with a similarly demonic-looking lion. The bear in the flying carousel, on the other hand isn't scary at all.
  • On Boy Meets World, as part of an Escalating War, one group of the main characters superglue the other main characters to their classroom seats, dowse them in honey and set a bear loose in the classroom. Givin that the source of the bear is never explained, nor do they get in trouble for it, this one goes directly under Rule of Funny.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall is worried about being uninsured while looking for work, and keeps coming up with worst-case scenarios about every situation, all of which include being attacked by a bear (well, a guy in a bad bear costume).
    • The bad bear suit heightens the Rule of Funny, as does Marshall melodramatically screaming "NOT LIKE THIS" every time.
  • The Haven episode "Fur" featured hunting trophy animals coming to life and attacking people, including a bear.


  • If you wanted to release an album named "No Fear Restriction", what you'd put on the cover to match? Right...
  • The back of the album cover of Jethro Tull's Stormwatch has a thousand-foot-tall polar bear stomping on an oil refinery.
  • The marketing campaign for Radiohead's album Kid A told a vague but disturbing story about genetically modified bears killing everyone. The "Radiohead Bear" has remained the band's logo ever since.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft noted a conspicuous absence of bears in some shamanic societies' legends, probably owing to the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-ness.
  • Davy Crockett. King of the wild frontier. Killed him a bear when he was only three.
  • Averted by many Native American legends. Amongst the Navajo, for example, the bear is a symbol of healing, peace, and tranquility and harming one brings very bad luck. Then again, if you try to provoke a bear you're probably going to get everything you deserve.
    • Played straight by others. The Origin Story of Devils Tower in Wyoming involves one or more gigantic bears trying to kill frightened children and the Creator raising the tower up under the kids to save them.
  • The Japanese Oniguma (devilbear): strong enough to carry away horses and quick enough to smash monkeys with one blow. Also it was said that killing bears would cause the "Bear Wrath", a really nasty event.
  • Averted in the Greek myth of Atalanta, who, after being left to die as a baby, was raised by a she-bear, and became a badass Hot Amazon Action Girl.

Newspaper Comics

  • There's a Far Side cartoon in which a bar fight is happening in an old Western saloon. From the speed at which people are running out the door/being thrown through the window, it's implicit that there's a pretty tough guy inside. Well, his bear is parked outside among the horses.
    • Gary Larson actually did this a few times. Another example can be summarized by quoting the caption. Two bear hunters are examining the gruesome fate of a third, and one of them says:

There he is, just like all the others. Tied up with his own shotgun, hunting license stuffed in his mouth. I want this bear, Dave. I want him bad.

  • A recurring storyline in Non Sequitur is "Homer the Reluctant Soul" which involves Homers numerous lives and rebirths; many of them end at the hands of a bear; at the end of one of his lives, it revealed that this is actually the same bear, whom he has met in the bear's numerous lives. When Homer confronts it in the afterlife - where its name is Maurice - it simply says, "Right, like the food chain is my fault?"
  • Garfield tends to have trouble with bears on Jon's Horrible Camping Trips; one of the worst was when he found what he thought was his teddy bear Pooky away from the campsite, only to find the real Pooky and a very angry bear there. "Momma!" cries the — real — bear cub he's holding.

Professional Wrestling

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • What's the biggest, strongest werecreature? That's right. Werebear.
      • In defiance of the "worse" aspect, werebears are the only good-aligned lycanthrope (chaotic good prior to D&D 3.5, lawful good after). This was probably thanks to Beorn.
      • The dire bear made a pants-wettingly terrifying appearance in Neverwinter Nights 2, just so you could get a sense of scale: it is bigger than a friggin' garbage truck, and covered with bony spikes.
    • Werebear-ians: Barbarian Were Bears. Ouch.
    • There's a Running Gag about Dungeons & Dragons druids: no matter how good their stats, they will invariably reach level 5 as a human/elf/whatever, then spend the rest of their lives as a bear. Using the Natural Spell feat to keep casting.
      • And to take this Up to Eleven, they have animal companions as well. So this means that they can transform into a bear (Wild Shape) and ride a bear (Animal Companion) while summoning bears (spontaneously cast summon spells). Oh Crap.
        • We did the calculations on this can get close to a hundred bears at 20th level without any bizarre min/maxing or obscure feats. Also, the same theory can be applied to most any animal.
    • Also, they're very mysterious.
    • Most templates in 4e have a requirement of a certain creature type being necessary in order for it apply, usually humanoid. However, the Death Knight template's only requirement is that the creature be level 11, which means Cave Bear Death Knights are realistic possibilities in any campaign.
    • In 4th edition, the Druid class gains at 1st level the ability to change into animal form (which doesn't technically change your stats, it just makes you look different and gives you different attacks) at will for as long as you want. So, technically, you could play a Druid who spends their entire life as a bear.
    • Plus, there's a spell in 3.5 edition called "Bite of the Werebear", which grants +16 strength, +8 CON, three natural attacks, and the Power Attack feat to the target. It has a range of self, but can be cast on familiars for...interesting results.
    • However, there's also Owlbears. I don't care what its stats are, an Owlbear is a bit difficult to take seriously.
    • This is definitely the case for the enemies of Breland, considering the Brelish field elite bear cavalry (as befits Breland's coat of arms). Obviously, the Brelish themselves would tend to disagree.
  • Gamma World has Napoleon, a sentient bear that thinks he's Napoleon. Who also leads an army of other sentient animals.
  • The Huraka (wind bears) of Exalted. While they are normally gentle wind herders, they also serve as the shock troops of the Air Elementals. You know you're screwed when giant, flying bears with wind powers come barreling toward you.
  • In the Old World of Darkness, what was stronger than a werewolf in its hybrid "war form"? A werebear in their version of same form. Not only that, but the incarnation of death itself was the aptly-named Death Bear, which had to be fought to bring someone back to life. Guess which changing species was the only one up to the task?
    • Ironically enough, the Gurahl (the werebears) are actually the ones who are supposed to make everything better. Just as werewolves are Gaia's warriors, werebears are Gaia's healers—they have the most potent restorative rituals of all the Changing Breeds, including the ability to bring the recently deceased back to life (but if they get there a little too late... well...)
  • Allegedly, World of Synnibarr includes bears with Frickin' Laser Beams Eye Beams.
  • The flavor text for the Magic: The Gathering card Grizzly Bears: Don't try to outrun one of Dominia's Grizzlies; it'll catch you, knock you down and eat you. Of course, you could run up a tree. In that case you'll get a nice view before it knocks the tree down and eats you.
    • It should also be noted that in the early days of Magic, a 2/2 creature with no abilities cost 3 mana, 1 of the creature's color and 2 of any color (examples: Pearled Unicorn, Gray Ogre) while the Grizzly Bears (also 2/2 with no abilities) was only 2 mana; 1 green, 1 other. Thus, they're faster.
    • Some of the other bears in Magic include Werebear (starts off a weak 1/1, but get 7 cards in your graveyard and it turns 4/4), Ashcoat Bear (You're not even safe from your opponent summoning bears during your turn), and Bearscape (They can come from anywhere!).
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle: Borus Ursus, former Tzar of Kislev, rode a giant bear into battle. There's also a mention of a Chaos Lord whose chariot is pulled by skinless bears.
    • A grizzly bear is the standard mount for any of the Tzars or Tzarinas of Kislev, including the current incumbent Katarin the Ice Queen.
    • Also the Dogs of War character, Beorg Bearstruck; a Norse barbarian that has transformed into a Were-bear.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has Bjorn the Fell-Handed of the Space Wolves (Viking Space Marines), the oldest living Space Marine in the Imperium. Among his many claims to fame was resisting an Evil Sorcerer's Compelling Voice (he thought his True Name was "Bear") and killing him.


  • Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. "Exit, Pursued by a Bear." The bear pursuing Antigonus off the stage does in fact make everything worse (especially for Antigonus).
  • In Ubu Roi Pile, Cotice and Père Ubu are attacked by a bear in the forest. Pile and Cotice barely manage to kill it, while Ubu hides and prays, coming out after the bear is killed and claiming they'd never survive the encounter without his prayer.
  • The Bad Idea Bears from Avenue Q look adorable, but they. are. EVIL!!!!!!!!!
  • Siegfried sets one loose on Mime in his eponymous music-drama.


Video Games

  • In the Southern Vashnar mountains in Achaea, there is a point where the traveler must decide between going south or southwest. Southwest is a safe path leading to the city of Cyrene. There is a small and easy to miss sign at the fork in the path, which reads, "CAUTION: bears south". They're not friendly.
    • Speaking of Iron Realms, there's a whole race of humanoid bears in Lusternia, called the Tae'dae. Though usually Winnie the Pooh-esque Gentle Giant's, they're about eight feet tall and have the highest potential natural strength in the game.
  • In Age of Mythology, players can hunt bears for food (the villagers sent to the process will get quite injured, though)... and use a cheat code to unlock a "lazer bear", which wears the flag of Canada and fires beams.
  • In the arcade and Genesis classic Altered Beast, the form you can take in the third stage is a werebear. A werebear that can turn enemies into stone by breathing on them.
  • Random wilderness-dwelling brown and cave bears in Baldur's Gate. While far from the toughest enemies of the game, they start off showing as neutral to you, become aggressive if you get at all close, and can serve up a good mauling if you stop to fight. And usually come in pairs or groups. Oh, and you can encounter them right after the tutorial, at level 1.
  • While Battle Bears is a game about bears, of note most of his enemies are also bear-based including a brief fight with the Colbear and a Bearbershop Quartet.
  • There's only one way to make The Soviet Union scarier: PARACHUTING ARMORED WAR BEARS. With paralyzing sonic roars.
    • In Red Alert 3, one of the Allied Spy's unit responses is "I don't like bears...", which is justified by the Soviet War Bear's ability to sniff out and maul spies.
      • On the DVD extras the actors cannot believe it. Watch as George Takei tries to get his head around it ("Battle Bears? B E A R S?") or Autumn Reeser laughing as she asks for an explanation.
    • In the challenge mode of the Uprising expansion, the mission where you unlock the War Bear's is called The Number One Threat to America, and features giant bears that can smash tanks.
  • One of Condemned 2's scariest and most talked-about scenes involves being chased through an abandoned mountain cabin by a rabid Jaws-sized monster bear.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has a level called, "It's War", in which the game's reluctant, accidental antihero fights against an army of evil, fascist bears known as the Tediz. (Pun of "Nazis") These bears are more human than animal, but they are still creepy, and even more horrifying is the final boss of the level, a huge cybernetic bear with spider legs, embedded weapons, and a hand puppet of an innocent girl, which he uses to lure Conker in.
    • I'd hardly call her "innocent". As she says, she's the eyes, and the brains.
  • Disaster: Day of Crisis had a bear as part of the many pre-release screenshot collections. And that bear means business. It's not your ordinary bear. It's a bear that's Made of Iron.
  • One of the quests in the Bloodmoon expansion pack for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind involves you hunting down and killing a Spirit Bear. Before doing that, you have to kill either Skaal hunters or werewolves, both incredibly tough enemies, and the bear has the annoying habit of entering the fray while you're currently engaged.
    • Bears in the sequel, Oblivion, are among the most hated and feared enemies in the game for their high attack power, health, and ability to stagger the player character. They are oftentimes more dangerous than most of the quasi-demonic hordes of Daedra currently invading Tamriel.
      • At first yes, but eventually they just become annoying.
    • They keep this up in the following chapter Skyrim, where they are more dangerous than dragons. At least the dragons give you the courtesy of announcing their attack with a bellowing roar and circling you a few times beforehand.
      • Skyrim also has the Stormcloak Rebels, who have a prominent bear motif. Their generals even wear bearskin cloaks, complete with a hood made out of the bear's head.
  • Fallout 3 has the Yao Guai, giant, vicious, mutated bears that roam the Capital Wasteland disemboweling anyone they come across. In terms of dangerousness, they're pretty much second only to the Deathclaws.
    • They return in Fallout: New Vegas in the Honest Hearts DLC, which includes a giant flaming one called the Ghost of She.
  • Vargas, a boss from the beginning of Final Fantasy VI, had two bears for no apparent reason other than making the fight slightly more challenging.
    • There is a type of bear-like enemy in the mountains of Zozo that enjoys ambushing the party, stealing a hell of a LOT of money, and fleeing in its next turn. It made an annoying dungeon so much worse...
  • Fur Fighters had the Mooks as bears with polar-bears being the strongest and brown-bears making up the majority. Oddly not Black Bears and they were commandeered by a massive Cat.
  • Guild Wars has bears capturable as pets in in the tutorial area of prophecies though it's difficult and having one is considered a status symbol. They're also capturable in the main game but then are considered worse than common pets, because they have a special attack that does nothing but slow their attack speed.
    • To clarify, in the "Presearing" (tutorial) area of Prophecies, the capturable bear is the black bear. Brown bears and polar bears are available as common pets in Prophecies and Eye of the North, and there is a special variant of the polar bear known as a Jingle Bear available as a reward for a holiday quest in Eye of the North.
    • The Norn in Eye of the North can shapeshift into anthropomorphic bears as well. Whenever you talk to a hunter for the first time, they'll turn into one and attack. Additionally, there's the Nornbear, a corrupted version you have to kill, and whose brief existence inspires a Religion of Evil.
      • Norn characters in Guild Wars 2 will be able to replicate the shapeshifting. It also includes the Kodan, a race of permanently anthropomorphic bears who consider themselves the most enlightened race.
  • Don't Starve has Bearger. One of the Giants (main bosses) it has the worst features of a bear and badger.
  • In the old NES game Ice Climber, Polar Bears wearing sunglasses and swim trunks would show up and cause earthquakes. Of course, they could easily kill the player.
  • Katamari Damacy features a bear-themed Scrappy Level called Ursa Major in which the object is to gather the largest bear possible into your katamari. The problem? Picking up any sized bear, no matter how tiny, automatically ends the level and bears are everywhere! Even gathering a single bear-themed item like a "beware of bears!" sign or a "tiny teddybear" will end the level.
    • We ♥ Katamari ups the ante with a "Cowbear" level in which you must gather the largest cow and/or bear item to win. Now only must you dodge bear-themed items, you must be wary of cow and milk-themed items as well or the round will end prematurely.
  • The Bulrathi, from the first two Master of Orion games, landing on your planet generally made for having a bad day, unless you had a significant numerical and/or technological advantage over them.
  • One of the Druid's animal companion options in Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 is a bear. Try to guess what every player picks.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer interrupts your not quite pleasant stay at the town of Mulsantir by having a bear show up at the gates. Not just any bear either, but a bear god. With an army. An army which includes ghost bears. To make matters worse, it's a bear god specifically out to kill you, meaning the residents of the town are keen to throw your woefully unprepared ass out against it like some sort of sacrificial lamb. If it weren't for Gann and his magical bear god weak-point detecting skills, you'd be pretty much fucked.
    • Awesomely inverted if you decide to spare and recruit said bear god. You have a freaking bear god on your side!
  • Whispering Rocks Summer Camp has a slight bear problem in Psychonauts. Specifically, telekinetic bears.
  • The first enemies you come across in Akhma Cave in Rohan Online are Ursas, Warrior Ursas, Elder Ursas, and Ursa Mages, A.K.A. Giant Fucking Humanoid Bears From Hell. The weakest of them, the Ursas, start at level 20, but the most advanced Ursa types can easily go up to level 30. You will need a party in order to take these things (and Akhma Cave in general) on, because unless you're really high level, you WILL get eaten alive, particularly because the tougher ones like to mob you.
  • The Simpsons arcade game had a bear as a boss. Even its associated boss theme screams, "You're one doomed motherfucker!" When you beat it, however, it shrinks and turns into a fat mook.
  • In The Sims 3, exploring the crypt can end in a special status effect, where we learn that what's found at the bottom of the crypt is bears.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the two most deadly physical attacking monsters in the game are the Galf Beast and the Wolf Heddin. And which of these is the final evolved form of the bear? Actually, the bear has a divergent evolution and thus has two final evolved forms: the Galf Beast and the Wolf Heddin. Apparently, someone at Namco really likes bears.
    • The first monster Emil is attacked by is a bear. In New Game+ playthroughs, any monsters you inherited from your previous game can't defeat the bear until Marta arrives on the scene.
  • Kuma, Heihachi Mishima's guard bear from Tekken. Not so much with his Palette Swapped counterpart, Xiaoyu's sort-of pet Panda.
  • Chibi-Robo!: Sunshine, but only when he's going through honey withdrawal
  • The Grizzly Noise from The World Ends With You, especially of the Taboo variety.
  • World in Conflict: "The Red Bear has awoken. The world will see his might."
  • Druids in World of Warcraft can take the form of a bear to become more effective tanks. As it can deal decent damage while tanking, this is arguably their strongest form. What really speaks to their intimidating capability is, of course, is their ability to scare things into attacking them over the much more dangerous people nearby. A human might be forgiven for focusing on the bear trying to claw their face off over the mage prepping a fireball, but when you can make a 60 foot dragon see you as the most dangerous thing around, you are one scary bear.
    • Of course, that was preceded by Druids of the Claw (who can turn into bears and boost allies' damage by roaring) and the Beastmaster Rexxar in Warcraft III, who could summon his bear from anywhere.
    • Polar bears in Warcraft III are tough, amphibious neutral monsters with saberteeth.
    • Bears can also be tamed by hunters (although like the druid form, they are more suited for tanking than damage)
    • Blizzard's "special" mounts (i.e. mounts that are not available through normal faction vendors) tend to be bear-heavy for some reason:
      • The most (in)famous bear mount is the Amani War Bear, which could only be gotten as part of a lvl 70 raid instance, by killing four bosses and rescuing their hostages before time runs out and they are murdered. When the latest expansion was released and the level cap raised to 80, the Amani Bear was removed from the game so it would be a status symbol for the players dedicated enough to have gotten it at lvl 70.
      • The mount has since been reintroduced after Zul'Aman was retooled as a Level 85 Heroic instance, and is still fairly difficult to get in the time limit (it basically requires downing the enemies and bosses as efficiently as possible without wiping). One of the four bosses happens to be a troll infused with the power of a bear spirit who can charge distant players (one-shotting anyone who has the debuff from his charge), and who can turn into a bear, increasing his damage done to the tank and giving him the ability to roar and silence players.
      • Wrath of the Lich King also introduced an Armored Brown Bear mount available from the Dalaran mount vendor. It costs considerably more than the usual mount.
      • The reward for being part of the kills of every leader of the opposite faction, a feat that can require nearly a hundred organized players? A black war bear mount. Even better? Those bears were implemented in the closing days of Burning Crusade, during that brief period when mob levels (including faction leaders) were upped but players could not level yet. Despite (or because) of this, many top guilds actually got up at 4am to kill the faction leaders before WOTLK came out. Despite the fact that killing one faction leader easily took 30 minutes because of the vast level gap. Bears are Serious Business.
      • The Hyldnir, a group of giant blue warrior women, ride polar bear mounts in battle, one of which you can receive as a rare reward from a daily quest, which itself can involve riding a fighting bear.
    • There is also a race of humanoid bears called furbolgs. One tribe of those fiercely guards a tunnel that connects between three zones, one of which can only be reached through that tunnel (and if you aren't a druid, you don't have easy access to another one). While it is possible to befriend them to the degree of them letting you pass with moderate effort, people who decide to skip that are in for one rough treatment when they try to run through the tunnel. Incidentally, two of the mentioned zones are crawling with other furbolgs and regular bears, as well.
    • Similarly, the Moonkin are a race created by the goddess Elune to protect her sacred shrines - they are half owl and half bear, to represent the wisest and strongest animals respectively. Druids can also assume their form in order to perform a caster DPS role.
    • And, of course, Welcome Bears, a Beef Gate monster in the Eastern Plaguelands. While the zone level has been significantly nerfed, they're still likely to kill any unwary low-level Forsaken players who inadvertently wander in from the adjacent Tirisfal Glades.
    • Even that was one-upped by the Bear Reaver. Imagine a creature, wandering about the wilderness, that has the abilities of a Humongous Mecha demon that requires multiple characters at the level cap to kill, but with the graphic of a wild bear. Note that according to the article, this was more dangerous than the demon itself. Making the humongous robot demon into a normal-sized bear made it more dangerous.
    • And with the recent announcement about the next expansion, the Pandaren are becoming playable. For those who don't know, Pandaren are humanoid panda martial artists that can kick your ass and may be the only race that can out-drink a Dwarf. And seeing as they choose which faction they join, they're likely to make things worse (or better, or both) for both the Alliance and the Horde.
  • In Infinite Undiscovery, Gustav the bear joins your party and proves to be a powerful tank (as you'd expect)...but counts as two characters toward the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. Also played straight with enemy bears and their daunting HP totals.
  • Mabinogi has bears in several flavors, and they're almost as tough as Ogres. Also, Tarlach is human only at night, becoming a bear by day. While he's not particularly violent, he constantly holds up the plot by Wangsting when you need info, sending you on Fetch Quests, and just not telling you the truth about what's going on.
    • In part because he doesn't know the full story either.
  • Vindictus throws a giant, pissed off polar bear at you in the "Dethrone the White Tyrant" mission of Hoarfrost Hollow, who is easily the toughest boss of that particular part of the game. And just for an encore, there's a Red Tyrant Bonus Boss sometime after you get through with Hoarfrost Hollow which is even worse than the white one.
  • Everything's usually worse with the Polar Bears. Unless you play as them, that is.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Heavy Weapons Guy, according to the Scout, is "like a big shaved bear that hates people."
    • Taken to new and very literal levels with a mod that turns the Heavy into an actual bear. With a minigun.
    • And then comes The Warrior's Spirit, which are bear claws that enable the Heavy to cause more damage.[2] Brings a new meaning to "I will kill you with bear hands!"
      • He's just exercising his right to bear arms.
      • These puns are getting downright unbearable.
  • In Samurai Shodown (aka Samurai Spirits) 0/5 Nakoruru is almost killed by a bear in Rera's storyline intro if not for Rera taking over Nako's body. Nakoruru is hesitant to defend herself for two reasons; one is that in Real Life the bear is one of the Ainu's most holy animal (Nakoruru being Ainu) and the other is that Nakoruru is a friend to all living things and doesn't like to use violence. Rera apparently pulls a Hollow Ichigo and kills the bear after taking over Nako's body because she doesn't feel like dying. Note that Rera is not a bad person, just a part of Nako that doesn't like how Nako normally behaves.
  • In Mass Effect 2 during one mission the mooks describe Shepard and his/her team as "armed for bear". And seeing how the rest of the mission goes for them they're not wrong. Incidentally, the term "armed for bear" likely owes it's existence to this trope.
  • Dragon Age has you fight bears from time to time, but also has bereskarns, bears with spikes that have been corrupted by the darkspawn taint. A high-level shapeshifter can actually transform into one. A Rogue with the Ranger Specialization can summon a bear. Mastering the specialization allows a Rogue to summon an even bigger bear. Anywhere. It's a pretty good meatshield/damage dealer too.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, the Tall Trees area in the northeast is populated by large grizzly bears. While not invulnerable (as with every animal, you can kill and even skin them), they can fuck your shit up quite easily. Whether or not they're more dangerous than cougars is up for debate, but they're certainly scary. And if you kill one bear, watch your back - most likely, there's more to come.
  • Oregon Trail. Damn bears are always eating party members. 'Specially if you try to hunt them.
    • And cougars too, although strangely, you never actually see them while hunting.
  • Since King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is a Sierra game, it's no surprise that the bear attacking a beehive can kill you (and so can the bees). What is amusing is to see the bear kill Graham with one swing of its paw.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic V, Hammers of Fate add-on, dwarves have heavily armored and very Badass bear cavalry. Just like on the page picture.
  • Throughout the game Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, the player regularly fights against golems, stronger-than-normal enemies that take the form of humanoids built from various substances. Then you get to the Ice Domain, where the golems are replaced by giant, undead polar bears.
  • Pokémon has Teddiursa, a small teddy bear. However, when it evolves at Level 30, it becomes the dangerous Ursaring. As mentioned above in the Anime section, Ursaring is a Mighty Glacier that hits and moves like a truck. Weighing in at a base attack stat of 130, it is a beast to be reckoned with and its decent physical movepool is enough to back it up. Legends Arceus would go on to introduce Ursaluna, an even more powerful bear that evolves from Ursaring.
  • Naughty Bear wouldn't be the same game with some other animal.
  • Shinobido has bears in some mission. And they're insanely powerful, veeery suspicious, move erratically and can take a lot of damage before dying. However, you can kill them instantly if they're distracted (usually a salmon will do the trick).
  • Return to Krondor does not have any actual bears, but it has Big Bad Bear. He is taller than everyone else. He has muscles to match his height. He is a mercenary and a pirate leader. He will kill men, women, and children who get in his way. In the game, one small-time pirate name Knute left him and was thrown in jail. Bear broke into the jail with an army of mercenaries, killing just about everyone they encountered. He personally went down to the cells where Knute was held in and ripped Knute's cell door right off its hinges and told Knute to follow him. Then he grabbed Knute by the throat and demanded to know "Where is it?" and "What had Knute done with it?" Knute just kept screaming that he did not do anything. Bear called Knute a liar and sliced him to pieces. When you finally fight Bear yourself, you will find that he wears the best armour and uses the best swords. Oh, and you will find that he is completely immune to your attacks. He wears an amulet that makes him immune to your attacks.
  • Parodied in Castle Crashers. During the forest stage, you keep hearing vast thumping footsteps that cause various animals to void their bowels in terror. About halfway through the stage, a huge bear emerges from the bushes, only to be scared off by the continued footsteps, which turn out to belong to an enormous troll.
  • In Jabless Adventure, you encounter bears on the trip to The Lost Woods and they're one of the toughest enemies in the game. Then, Under the Sea, you encounter the SCUBA bear, who's invincible. Finally, in a volcano, you encounter a bear with a flamethrower, who's not only invincible but impossible to dodge (you have to find something fire-retardant to block him).
  • Defense of the Ancients has Ursa, who is infamous for his instagibbing abilities in casual games, and Syllabear, who can summon a bear and turn into a bear as well. Given the right items and some levels, the latter can tank, dish out insane dps, permanently immobilize enemies and destroy towers in five seconds flat.
  • These tend to show up in the Mega Man franchise, sometimes as enemies, other times as bosses. To wit:
    • The Classic series gives us Pandeetas in Mega Man 6, as well as Shirokumachine GTV's in Mega Man 7. The former are panda robots found primarily in Wind Man's stage that shoot black balls at you in an arc, while the latter are imposing polar bear robots in Freeze Man's stage that swat chunks of ice or drop icicles on Mega Man's head, and are tough enough to serve as minibosses.
      • The Mega Man 7 romhack Rockman 7 EP has orange versions of the Shirokumachines that fight like the Hot Dog/Friender enemies from Mega Man 2, and shoot arcing trails of flame at Mega Man from atop high platforms.
    • Among the many animal-based Mavericks in the Mega Man X series, there's Grizzly Slash/Crescent Grizzly in Mega Man X5 and Bamboo Pandemonium in Mega Man X8. Both are huge, imposing, and dangerous, but are among the more likeable Mavericks in the series: Grizzly is a Tragic Villain who wants to be put out of his misery because of the Sigma virus eating away at his sanity, while Pandemonium is a soft-spoken intellectual.
    • Mega Man Zero 2 has Poler Kamrous, who's a polar bear Maverick to contrast with the grizzly and panda bears of the X series.
  • Indie game Enviro Bear 2000 and its iTunes retouch, Enviro Bear 2010, prove this from the bear's perspective. You play a bear attempting to be more efficient at getting food for hibernation by driving around in a car. Given the controls, that translates loosely into "smash up the forest in a car."
  • The Barren Room in Colossal Cave. You can tame the bear. Then the Trope becomes active for the Troll.
  • In League of Legends, Annie summoned and a sealed a demon in her teddy bear. When she uses her Ultimate, she summon Tibbers, a raging demon bear. That's on fire.
    • There's also Volibear, the envoy of an entire Proud Warrior Race of sentient, humanoid bears. He also harnesses lightning to further empower his already strong attacks.
    • Volibear is based on the legendary 'armored bear' from League beta. It has the 'Chronokeeper Hater' buff, a reference to Zilean the Chronokeeper and the Riot developer Zileas who was supposedly against armored bears.
  • Defense of the Ancients has Syllabear, a druid who can shapeshift into a bear and has another bear as a minion. Both bears can buy and equip armor. This answers the question of what could possibly be worse than an armored bear character: a character that is two armored bears.
  • One stage of Kao The Kangaroo Round 2 involves running from a giant bear while avoiding falling into pits. "Exit, pursued by a bear" indeed.
  • Now that Kuma is part of the roster of Street Fighter X Tekken, players will finally get to see Zanghief wrestling an actual bear.
  • The Perils of Akumos: The whole space station is trying to kill you. What next? Oh. A bear attacks you.
  • Mother 3 has the Honey Shower which coats an enemy with honey, causing it to be stung repeatedly by bees for minimal damage. Oh, and sometimes a bear shows up, too. The bear doesn't inflict "minimal" damage.
  • The Black Belt Demon's peat bear in Rumble Roses XX is unlockable.
  • In Thief, you can eavesdrop on a conversation between two guards about bear fighting as a blood sport. One of the guards laments that bears were ferocious when he was a kid, and the pit owners have to strap hooks and razor collars onto the bears to keep the fights interesting.
  • Aztec Wars has war bears as one of the Russian units. They're fast and utterly devastating against infantry, but useless against buildings and vehicles.
  • The Five Nights at Freddy's series gives us the titular Freddy Fazbear himself, the leader of a group of killer animatronic animals who moonlight as children's entertainers at a pizzeria during the day and are possessed by the ghosts of murdered children. Freddy doesn't do anything during the earlier nights, but from Night 4 and beyond, he activates and proves to be incredibly dangerous, as he's lighting fast while traveling across the Pizzeria and very good at staying out of sight on the security cameras. To make things worse, every time he moves to a different room, he fills the restaurant with his horrifying, booming laughter. And if the power goes out, Freddy will come for you in the darkness, playing a music box version of Les Toreadores while his face glimmers ominously in the left doorway. You better have bought enough time for 6 A.M. to roll on by, lest ye receive a face full of Freddy. And if all that wasn't bad enough, his status as a Fountain of Expies means that every game has its own Freddy to contend with, with each one being a threat in his own right.
    • Alongside Freddy, there is a yellow-colored Eldritch Abomination version of him known as Golden Freddy, who is summoned into your office if you happen to glance at a special poster in one of the rooms. If you don't look right back into your security feed when he shows up, he will assault you with a ton of horrifying hallucinations and kill you, his scream sounding unique among the animatronics as it's incredibly deep and demonic. Unlike his fellow animatronics, he will go beyond killing you and will crash your game. He returns in the sequel without the ability to crash the game, but is much harder to deal with and is the closest the game has to a final boss. While it was originally speculated that he was the costume William Afton wore when he murdered the children that would possess the animatronics, it later turned out that he himself is a possessed animatronic just like all the rest, while Afton wore a Spring Bonnie suit instead. So why the hell is he so off when compared to them?
      • While that mystery was never quite solved, the fourth game would drop a hell of a bombshell regarding his identity: he's no mere palette swap of Freddy. He's Fredbear, the first of the animatronics to be created, as well as the one responsible for the Bite of '83. While he didn't actively try to bite anyone, a young boy ended up with his head crushed between his powerful jaws thanks to his cruel older brother forcing him into Fredbear's mouth. Regardless of his intent, this leads to the bite victim imagining him as the biggest, scariest Nightmare animatronic encountered in his dreams, and he's a relentless terror who replaces the Nightmare Fazbear Four and fights identically to all of them at the same time.
    • While Freddy himself reappears in the sequel, albeit rotting and decaying from years of neglect, we also have a newer, kid-friendlier version of him known as Toy Freddy. Neither Freddy is all that dangerous in this game if you know what you're doing, with Toy Freddy perhaps being one of the easiest animatronics to deal with. However, Toy Freddy is a lot more dangerous in Ultimate Custom Night, where his gimmick (helping him play a video game and keeping him from getting jumpscared) makes him one of the hardest animatronics to deal with because unless you want to open yourself up to be attacked by the others, you'll have to leave Toy Freddy alone and hope he doesn't lose while the night goes on.
      • And it turns out, we have not one, two, or even three Freddies, but four of these guys running around the second game's Pizzeria. Like with Bonnie, there's a shadowy version of Freddy called, well, Shadow Freddy who can very rarely appear in the Parts and Services room on your camera feed and will crash your game if you stare at him too long. There's nothing explaining his presence in the game, though the fact that he's actually a dark purple instead of black like Shadow Bonnie may hint at something given that the child-murdering William Afton is represented by a purple sprite in the Atariesque games that explain bits of the game's lore...
    • Freddy would go on to receive a heavily burned Phantom counterpart in the third game, who can't kill you with his jumpscares but will distract you and open you up to Springtrap, who will. When you see him hobbling down the hallway, do not look at him unless you want him to scream in your face.
    • Due to being the figment of a frightened child's imagination, Nightmare Freddy from the fourth game is a horrific monstrosity that lives up to his namesake. Like every other Nightmare animatronic, he has drill-tipped claws and a mouthful of nasty looking fangs, but what sets him apart from the pack is his unique gimmick. He doesn't actively roam your house like Nightmare Bonnie and Chica, but instead manifests on your bed in the form of a tiny "Freddle" that is soon joined by others of his kind. If you fail to shoo the Freddles off, they merge together and the freshly-formed Nightmare Freddy goes in for the kill.
      • Nightmare Freddy gets upstaged by an even bigger, badder demon bear in the form of Nightmare Fredbear, but even he falls victim to the Sorting Algorithm Of Evil. On Nights 7 and 8, Nightmare Fredbear will be replaced by an even more vicious animatronic simply called Nightmare. On the surface, he simply appears to be a black Palette Swap of Nightmare Fredbear that traded in his purple accessories for yellow ones. But a closer look at him reveals that his skin is translucent, and you can see a robotic endoskeleton and what appears to be a human brain underneath. If he attacks you, he resets the game, but not before blaring some unnerving-sounding staticky noises. Much like Golden and Shadow Freddy, Nightmare is an anomalous enigma who we know nothing about, and his kill quotes in Ultimate Custom Night hint at him being so much worse than a mere ghost or illusion.
    • As if ghostly or nightmare demon incarnations of Freddy weren't bad enough, Sister Location throws a Monster Clown version into the mix. Say hello to Funtime Freddy, a Laughably Evil psycho who was deliberately designed and programmed to kidnap and murder children! While overshadowed by Circus Baby, he eventually becomes the face and dominant mind of Ennard, a horrific amalgamation of the Sister Location's animatronics acting as one. Rebranding himself as Molten Freddy in Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, he's lost whatever sanity he originally had and has devolved into a purely murderous maniac lacking any redeeming qualities whatsoever.
    • Along with Molten Freddy, Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator introduces another Freddy variant called Lefty. A black-colored Palette Swap of Rockstar Freddy (more about him below), he seems like an odd, yet ultimately generic killer animatronic until the story drops a bombshell on you: he's a containment unit for the Puppet from the second game. He can't stop her from trying to kill you, but he does ensure that she'll burn in the fiery trap Cassette Man set for the remaining killer animatronics, ultimately helping the ghosts possessing her, Molten Freddy, and Scrap Baby find peace while condemning William Afton to Hell... for a little while, at least.
    • In Ultimate Custom Night, almost every incarnation of Freddy is out for your blood. Yes, even the harmless and adorable Helpy from Pizzeria Simulator, who will blow an airhorn in your face to distract you from the other animatronics and further aggravating the noise-hating Music Man. Along with him, three other incarnations of the bow tie-wearing bear join in on the fun. There's Rockstar Freddy, who will constantly pester you for Fazcoins on threat of killing you as a darkly humorous parody of intrusive microtransactions. There's also Nedd Bear, a cheap in-universe ripoff of Freddy whose occasional cryptic death quotes hint at the game's true nature as William Afton's personal Hell. And rounding out the group is Fredbear, who doesn't appear normally, but will kill you should you be foolish enough to summon him. He's completely unbeatable, has a jumpscare scream completely unique to him, and his quotes are in horrific Black Speech.
    • For the most part, Glamrock Freddy in Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach subverts this trope with a vengeance. He's a friendly Gentle Giant who protects the young Gregory from Vanny and the Mega Pizzaplex's murderous animatronics. But he can very rarely play this trope straight should you mess up the Parts and Services minigame: his programming will freak out and force him to kill Gregory against his will.
  • Monster Hunter has a few of these, all of which fall into the "Fanged Beast" category.
    • In real life, Arzuros would be terrifying. It's a blue-and-yellow bear that's far bigger and nastier than any encountered in real life, and has armored, spike-studded forearms to boot. However, it's among the weakest monsters encountered in the series, and is always a non-threatening Warmup Boss in whatever games it's encountered in. However, its Redhelm and Apex variants are a lot nastier and are among the series' toughest opponents.
    • Lagombi is a close relative of Arzuros, and is a polar bear/rabbit hybrid. It's capable of surprisingly acrobatic feats thanks to the way it slides around on its belly, and it can also toss huge snowballs at you. But once you're used to it, it isn't much tougher than Arzuros... though it also has a tougher variant of its own: the powerful Snowbaron Lagombi.
    • Goss Harag is one of the series' creepiest monsters. Why? Because it's an oni bear, that's why! Its oddly humanoid face looks like a demonic mask, and it's intelligent enough to understand tool usage as shown by its fighting style, which has it freeze its forearms into icy blades and clubs. It's also far more dangerous than Arzuros or Lagombi, and is a hard-hitting, deceptively quick late-game monster that can really fuck you up if you aren't careful while fighting it.
    • The obscure Caesarber from the now-defunct Monster Hunter Online tries so hard to be scary. And while it would be an imposing foe in real life, its status as a beaver bear meant that it was doomed to be a goofy Warmup Boss for the player to beat up on.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, bears are one of two animals[3] who will actively attack Link (the other being wolves). Their attacks do a lot of damage, and they are, if anything, more durable than Moblins. The Hyrule Compendium states that Grizzlemaw Bears are considered to be the most dangerous wild animals in Hyrule.
  • Frost Bears and their stronger Hoary Bear cousins are some of the most dangerous enemies in Octopath Traveler's Frostlands. They take a lot of punishment before going down and hit ridiculously hard, and their Rampage attack lets them hit your entire party for massive damage. Hoary Bears have even deadlier tools in their arsenal, such as Gather Strength which will buff their sky-high attack Up to Eleven, and Horrific Claw which will inflict the Terror status on those it hits (which prevents the victim from using the Boost mechanic).

Web Animation

Web Comics

Gabe: Did you order one of those smaller controllers or something? I think I like it better.

Capt. Landon: If you're referring to the M3 "tater", I don't carry one.
Capt. Landon: (points at his arm the size of the other guy) Speaking frankly, as one to whom nature has given a nice tooth-and-claw package, I don't consider M3 a weapon.
Capt. Landon: (leans forward) And speaking as an armed agent of J.S.C. Internal Affairs, I ask the questions.

    • The next we see him, he apparently just finished ripping his way through a building full of fearless combatants armed with weapons capable of beating better body armor than he doesn't have.

I think sixty-one penetrating wounds is just over my limit.

    • ...and after sorting out his own, personal Zombie Apocalypse, our favorite walking, roaring killing machine moved to mop up the rest of it (after being patched, and picking up a proper weapon and riot shield strapped to the body as an Improvised Armour) - his next appearance made it to a wallpaper.
    • Other uplifted bears also were made. Meet Admiral Argharghrar. Also quite grouchy, though he got a good reason.

Web Original

Iason: And did nobody ever think to teach you anything about bears?
Jamie: Not to mess with them.
Iason: That will do for a beginning.

Nash: Number one, it's a bear. Number two, it's a bear. Number three, and probably most important... HOLY SHIT, YOU FUCKING IDIOT! IT'S A GODDAMNED BEAR!

  • Fake Science repeatedly featured bears. See the tag "Bears".
  • These traditional American values.
  • Invoked and averted in RWBY: Ursas (Grimm modeled on bears) are indeed much nastier than the werewolf-like beowolves, but are basically the second or third tier on a scale that tops out with Godzilla-like Leviathans and the immense flying whale-like creature used to attack Atlas in Volume 8.
  • Invoked by The Spiffing Brit in his April 27, 2021 video Breaking Skyrim With Cursed Mods, in which he creates a bear player character (using one mod), whom he refers to frequently as "Murder Bear". Murder Bear eventually comes across a dwemer-made tank (thanks to another mod), and starts plowing across the terrain in it, blowing up anything he can hit.

Don't mind me, ladies and gentlemen. Just a Murder Bear with a panzer tank. This is perfectly normal.

Web Video

Western Animation

  • The bear who fights the title character and his daughter in the Balto sequel. Thanks to his embodiment of an animal totem, he comes across as more of a spirit guide, but he's still fairly menacing and seems to believe Scare'Em Straight is the best way to guide them.
    • The first movie had a fight with a bear near the beginning of Balto's journey to find the medicine, and the bear was portrayed as outright demonic.
    • Even though they are cubs and thus good the polar bears Muk and Luk pretty much spell this trope for their babysitter, "Uncle" Boris (who at one point says "I hate bears!"). Good thing that they apparently are stuck as cubs forever (if the time between the movie and sequels is of any indication)
  • Parodied in The Simpsons, where a bear wandering around Springfield, not even getting angry once, causes enough of a panic to lead to an extensive (and costly) bear watch program.
    • In a more straightforward example, Homer is traumatized by a bear attack, and even has nightmares of being attacked by vicious teddy bears.

Homer: Are you a Care Bear?
Care Bear: (takes out a crowbar and starts tapping it) I'm an Intensive Care Bear.
Homer: Why does a bear need a crowbar?
Care Bear:...I don't like to get my hands dirty.

    • There was also a bear with a chainsaw. Chainsaw bad . In the episode where Mr. Burns and the Rich Texan were destroying the environment. Kent Brockman announced that "Smokey the Bear" is now "Choppy the Lumberjack". Cut to a bear in a lumberjack get-up cutting a tree with a chainsaw, while an activist protested to his actions behind him. Choppy backhanded him angrily and revved up his chainsaw.
    • In another episode, Bart and Lisa are stuck in a forest fire. Homer arrives in a helicopter, and let down a rope ladder. Before the kids can climb it, a bear shoulders them aside and climbs the ladder himself (only being stopped from reaching the chopper by Homer cutting the rope).
    • One of Homer's dream sequences involves him as "Homey the Bear", a Yogi Bear parody in both appearance and animation style. Not so bad, until Homey proceeds to brutally maul Ranger Ned (Flanders).
    • Kent Brockman reported in season 7 about a bear who stowed away on a space shuttle that is now terrorizing the astronauts.
    • One of the most infamous cases of this trope took place in the episode, "Homer vs. Dignity." While pulling a prank for Mr. Burns that was an in-universe example of Pandaing to the Audience, a male panda mistook a panda costume-clad Homer for a female and implicitly raped him.
  • A Running Gag among many 11-minute Adult Swim animated comedies; the ones that happen to be related to each other by same way (usually creative staff). It started with an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast with Space Ghost brawling a bear; then became a prominent character in Perfect Hair Forever and spread from there.

Granny: And then the Lord made bears. Lots of bears... Too many bears. Should've dialed back on the bears... And so, he dialed back on the bears!

Phil Ken Sebben: He's a bear! Buster Brown and his Hairy Hollyknockers! Have you ever tried to bring one down?

Squidward: What'd I do that time?!
Spongebob: I don't know! Maybe he just doesn't like you!

Billy! He's the greatest warrior ever, a hero of renown! Who slayed an evil ocean, who cast the Lich King down! [...] Also... He fought a bear!

  • In Hero 108, High Roller's henchmen (other than the Zebra twins) are an army of bears! They are seen as his henchmen. Especially their king being High Roller's sidekick in evil.
  • In The Venture Brothers, the Revenge Society is recruiting new members, and during the Terrible Interviewees Montage, one of the interviewees is a bear. Or possibly a guy in a bear costume. Either way, it's covered in blood, looks freaky as hell, and just stands there, not speaking or doing anything. Phantom Limb, Professor Impossible, and Baron Underbeit, experienced supervillains, are scared shitless. And then it pulls out a knife.
    • In another episode, Brock fights a team of Vatican Swiss Guard bears.
    • And in another episode The Monarch forces a prostitute into a deathtrap gauntlet. Featuring the polar bear from Lost.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius punishes Samy with a bear on a stick. It eats him, chews him up, and spits him out.
  • In an episode of American Dad, Stan has both his legs ripped off by a vicious polar bear, after being pushed in by the bear's tank by Roger, who wanted to save Stan and pretend to be a hero, so he'd let him move back in with him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Boast Busters" sees Twilight Sparkle forced to deal with an Ursa Major, a huge, terrifying blue bear as big as a house and made of stars, thanks to two none-too-bright pony boys who wanted to see boastful magician Trixie take one on. It turns out that was only an Ursa Minor, merely a cranky baby. The real Ursa Major, its mother, is bigger, scarier, and purple.
  • Joe Bear in the Tex Avery-directed cartoon, "Rock-a-Bye Bear".
  • There was an animated Beast Fable adaptation of Tom Sawyer where Injun' Joe (or just Joe) was portrayed as a bear.
  • In The Legend of Korra, the larger of the two team pets is Naga, a Polar Bear Dog. Korra is distinct in that she's the first to be able to tame such a beast. Korra can and does use Naga as an intimidation tool, and Naga is fiercely protective of Korra.
  • One of the antagonists in the Easter special The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town is Gadzooks, a mean bear who guards the pass between Kidville and Town, mugging any travelers for their food. The Easter Bunny fools him by coloring his eggs and claiming they're colored paperweights. (Explaining why he does so from then on.) Gadzooks wises up eventually, but turns over a new leaf — and becomes a powerful ally — once the children of Kidsvile surprise him with a new Easter suit.
  • In a Woody Woodpecker short, Woody's foil is a clockmaker trying to turn Woody into a cuckoo; a Running Gag in the short is said foil making loud noises and waking up a hibernating bear who doesn't like being woken up. Eventually, Woody is able to use this to his advantage, moving the sleeping bear to the shop right before the top of the hour when every cuckoo clock chimes simultaneously, and the clockmaker (who wisely has earplugs for when that happens) is trounced hard enough by the angry bear to finally consider giving up.


  • Preying on public fear and stereotypes, a 2011 hoax described a 19-year old Russian girl and her stepfather getting eaten alive by a literal Mama Bear and its cubs.

Real Life

  • The Nazis probably felt this way about Voytek. A bear... that drinks, smokes, fights, and carries ammo.
  • Try to read all the way through this page without getting the chills. Some standout incidents include:
    • The woman who climbed onto her roof when the bear broke into her cabin. It followed her onto the roof and killed her. Nowhere is safe...
    • The one where a bear broke the necks of two campers, dragged them off, and ate part of them. When police found the bear five days was guarding and protecting their corpses. Somehow the really disturbing implications of that last bit make this one even creepier.
    • The bear who apparently ripped the door off of a trailer to get to the man inside.
    • The bear who dragged a five-month-old off of the porch of her house and killed her.
    • And of course the one where the only information they give us is that "his/her partially consumed remains were found." Especially scary is the guy whose half-eaten body was found in a campground when people woke up the next morning, or the one where "days later, searchers found his campsite with his bare skeleton, one intact hand, and both feet, still booted."
    • And then there's the guy who managed to drag himself 1.5 miles to a meadow to die after being mauled and partially eaten.
  • The Russian animal symbol is the bear. This trope was used in an American political ad during the Cold War asking, "If there's a bear in the woods, what are you going to do about it?" more or less.
  • You know the scientific name for the grizzly bear? Ursus arctos horribilis.
  • As noted elsewhere on this page, the English from the time Beowulf was written avoided even naming the bear. In several languages (including French, English, German, Finnish, and Russian), there was a taboo about even saying "bear" for fear that it would summon one. Thus, there's usually at least one euphemism that survives to this day for them to keep that from happening (in English, the most common one is "bruin", literally "brown one"). In medieval Russia, the word medved (honey-eater), which is itself an euphemism for the now-lost original word for "bear", itself got tabooed. Instead of naming the animal directly, people would refer to it with nicknames, either endearingly-pejorative ("the hairy one", "the clumsy one") or respectful ("the master"); a common practice was to give it a similar-sounding human name ("Mikhail Potapych", "Misha").
  • There's a reason the expression "loaded for bear" pretty much means "carrying the biggest damn gun you can get your hands on." In the muzzle-loading days, it meant cramming in extra powder. It takes quite a lot to put a bear down and there's a lot of Taking You with Me potential if you don't get it right.
  • Campgrounds in the more remote areas of Canada typically offer literature and even lectures by the park ranger on proper bear safety. Despite this, examples abound of tourists failing to take rules like "don't keep food in the tent" and "don't get between a mother bear and her cubs" seriously and paying a heavy price.
  • As depicted in Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell had been hanging around bears for a long long time and filming them until two finally ate him and his girlfriend. Before that he apparently had such a way that he could get close to cubs without hitting the momma's Berserk Button. Guess it doesn't matter how much a strong connection you have to nature when there's a food shortage...
    • It's never been released to the public (meaning any versions you find are fake), but Timothy and his girlfriend's horrifying deaths were recorded on tape, a tape that Werner Herzog begged for its owner to destroy. Yes, that Werner Herzog. Considering how horrified he was while listening to it, it's probably for the best that we'll likely never hear the contents of that tape.
  • Stephen Colbert puts bears in the Threat Down for a very good reason. (See page quote, also Phil Ken Sebben's dislike of bears.) Word of God says his fear of them is partly based on a recurring dream, and partly on the movie Man in the Wilderness. Also partly because his father, who was a doctor, used a hypothetical bear-mauling as an example of the kind of thing you can brush off with ease with the aid of modern medicine. Which explains the Fridge Brilliance of his referring to pundit Bill O Reilly as "papa bear". Bears are the number one threat to America, and Billo is largely responsible for the modern TV personality Colbert professes to parody. Therefore, He's the greatest of the greatest threats to America.
  • When the Stock Market goes down, it's said to be in a bear market. It's said to be a reference to the way they attack; they swipe down with their paw.
  • Legendary NFL linebacker Dick Butkus was dubbed "The Most Feared Man in the Game." Who did he play for? That's right, the Chicago Bears.
  • A Russian circus manager was killed by an ice skating bear.
  • A group of armed militants in Kashmir stopped to have some pudding in a cave hideway... shared by a bear. The bear killed two and severely injured a third.
    • To clarify, the cave was shared, not the pudding.
      • Note: This may be why the bear attacked.
  • In Finnish, an infuriated person is said to be "mad as a bear shot in the arse".
  • Gold Rush miners used to pit bears against everything. The bear always won so they got bored and imported some lions. The lion would roar and charge. Then the bear would crush their skull with one blow.
  • The Lewis and Clark expedition experienced grizzly bears for the first time when they were exploring the west. "Experienced" here meaning "coming across a creature so incredibly strong they were unable to kill it with all of their guns and had to hide up trees until it left." Note that climbing a tree is not a foolproof solution to bears. Bears, even grizzlies, have been known to climb trees, too. And even standing on the ground, a big bear can reach as much as ten feet up into a tree.
  • The Sankebetsu brown bear incident, mentioned elsewhere on this page. Not at all a page to read before going to bed.
  • Bear-hunting was a favourite pastime of medieval Russian princes. Subverted in that, with armed retainers, clever tactics, and special-issue anti-bear spears (special rogatinas with oak handles and silver heads), it actually wasn't all that difficult to kill a bear. Pseudo-Demetrius I, the wacky early 17th century impostor that threw the country into bloody infighting, was very popular with the commoners of Moscow because of his badass stunt where he used his freakish strength to not only stop a bear in mid-pounce with his rogatina (that was standard practice), but also throw it backwards over his head. So if bears wrote TV Tropes, they would have to make a trope for "Everything Is Worse With Russian Princes and Political Opportunists That Pretend To Be Such".
  • Berserkers. Norse warriors who, among other rituals, went into battle wearing bearskins. The Norse were scary enough, but God help you if you were attacked by a berserker.
  • Water bears. That cannot be killed by the harsh vacuum or cosmic radiation of space, or much of anything else.
  • In 2006 a brown bear nicknamed "Bruno" by the press became something of a cause célèbre when it wandered into southern Germany from Austria. Bruno was extremely large and aggressive, showing a particular fondness for killing (but not eating) domestic animals. The fumbling attempts of the Bavarian government to deal with him (particularly Minister-President Edmund Stoiber's description of him as a "Problembär" ("problem bear")) attracted a great amount of derision. Bruno was finally shot to death by government marksmen.
  • And now they're joyriding in your car.
  • Subversion: Recently[when?] there was a drug bust of a marijuana farm guarded by ten black bears. They were so docile and domesticated that all that happened was that one of them sat on a cop car's hood for an hour, and then they just watched everything.
  • For the prehistoric giant cave bear this was inverted. For them everything was worse with humans. We pushed them out of their living space and then hunted them to extinction.
    • While that was going on in Eurasia, Paleo-Indians had to deal with Giant Short-Faced Bears, 1800-pound brutes that were twice as tall as humans when standing upright.
  • As if World War III wouldn't be bad enough, consider the fact it was almost started by a bear.
  • Despite their cute appearance, pandas are still bears, and they will maul you for hugging them unless they've been trained for that.
  • Most large carnivores attempt to avoid contact with humans unless they learn that humans are an easy source of food (either scavenging human refuse or hunting humans). Polar bears don't make any effort to avoid humans and appear to consider them to be exactly the same as everything else that's not another polar bear: food.
    • There is an old Inuit story of a woman who went to live among strange people. She became a burden, and so they placed her in a boat, took her out to sea and cast her overboard. She struggled to regain the side of the boat, but they cut off her fingers to keep her away. As she died in the water, she became Sedna, the goddess of the sea and mother of all beasts. Her fingers became the walrus and seals and whales that the people would hunt to eat. But her middle finger became the white bear. When the other animals see a man, they try to run away. But when the white bear sees a man, he is filled with revenge and tries to kill the person who he believes murdered the woman from whose finger he was born. Wise Inuit stay away from the white bear...
  • The Svalbard Ski Marathon: probably the only annual sporting event where the entire track has to be surveilled by armed guards to stop polar bears from eating the competitors.
  • Everything's worse with a bear market, despite financial advisors' attempts to subvert the trope.
  • One of the knights who killed Thomas Becket was Reginald fitsUrse, "son of the bear".
  • This form.

[X] Other (please specify): Bear at Door
M Fane: Ok, fair enough @canadapostcorp that’s a decent reason to not drop the package off at my door.
Canada Post: Would you be able to provide your exact location via DM? We would like to investigate.
Chris: they can't bear it
Dave Dave: investigate what? That one of your employees didn't want to be attacked by a bear?
(next message: photo of the bear)

  • In May 2012, California businessman and gubernatorial candidate John Cox, after promising to make "beastly" changes to California if he is elected (should the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom succeed) tried to use a 1,000 pound Kodiak bear as a visual aid on a campaign stop. And pretty much blew his chances at getting good press from then on. While the bear was, in fact, well-behaved, the media (and officials at the Oakland Zoo) really let him have it for such a dangerous stunt. To almost nobody's surprise, the attempt to recall Governor Newsom was easily thwarted.
  • Several sports teams such as the Memphis (originally Vancouver) Grizzlies (basketball), the Chicago Cubs (baseball), the Chicago Bears (football), and the Boston Bruins (hockey).

  1. Ironically, polar bears are just as dangerous as any other bear, if not more so, considering that they're a predatory species that hunts for fun. Pandas aren't really so nice in real life either.
  2. albeit with a slight health handicap
  3. "animal" defined as creatures not created by or associated with Ganon