Black Bear Cub Ursus americanus Trotting A black bear cub runs across a road. Photo Credit: ChuckSchugPhotography (iStock).

A black bear cub runs across a road. Photo Credit: ChuckSchugPhotography (iStock).

Bumbling black bears might not seem too intimidating as they're digging through dumpsters looking for food, but the species is surprisingly fast. In fact, they're so fast that they'd be able to catch any human on planet earth – and they're surprisingly agile, too.

It's been said that a lean black bear can run at about 30 miles per hour, though it is worth noting that bears packing on the pounds for winter can overheat and tend to tire quickly. It's also worth noting that terrain doesn't matter too much, as bears are quick uphill, downhill, on flat ground, and even when climbing trees. Plus, they're good swimmers, so don't think an island campsite will keep the bears away from your stash of food.

The fastest speed ever reached by a human was about 27.5 miles per hour – for just a brief moment by Usain Bolt in 2009. Generally, humans run somewhere between six to eight miles per hour. In other words, humans don't stand a chance against a running black bear.

Because of this, you should never attempt to run from a bear, as this may trigger a chase response. Instead, slowly back away while keep your eye on the bear and looking large. If attacked by a black bear, fight back with everything you've got.

Here's a clip that shows just how fast this species really is:

STAY INFORMED: Sign-up for the daily OutThere Colorado newsletter here


Get OutThere

Signup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.