As a group, bears are often considered to be some of the most dangerous animals on the planet, although in many ways it is unfair to group all bear species with the same characteristics. There are certainly some dangerous bears amongst the family, but with over twenty-five species and sub-species of bear, there are some which can be classed as the most dangerous bears.
Bear attacks are actually extremely rare, but like shark attacks are normally widely publicized, and fatalities are even rarer. The majority of bear attacks are though blamed upon four species of bear within the Ursinae sub-family of the Ursidae family, these four species being the Brown Bear, American Black Bear, Sloth Bear and Polar Bear.
The Brown Bear species of bear has a number of sub-species including the Grizzly Bear and Kodiak Bear. It is these bears that are often perceived as being the most dangerous. Attacks by Grizzly Bears in particular have been recognized for hundreds of years, but Brown Bears generally will normally avoid humans, although they can be unpredictable. Most injuries and fatalities occur from confrontations with a female Brown bear who believes that her cubs are under threat.
The American Black Bear as a dangerous bear species has been overshadowed by attacks credited to the Grizzly Bear, and as the basis for Winnie the Pooh is often considered a friendly bear. The American Black Bear though killed in excess of twenty people in the twentieth century, with many hundreds more examples of their excessive behavior.
Sloth Bears may not be the most famous of bears, but India they have a reputation for being more dangerous than tigers, and dozens of unprovoked attacks occur every year, including a number of fatalities. There are two sub-species of Sloth Bear, one form Sri Lanka and one from India which is also known as the Common Sloth Bear.
Arguably the most dangerous bear though is the Polar Bear. Polar Bears are hunters, and will stalk their prey, prey which may include humans, especially if the Polar Bears are hungry. The reduced numbers of Polar Bears has ensured that the number of attacks is quite small but the power of the Polar Bears means that a single swipe from a paw could be enough to kill.
Bears, other than the panda, are either carnivores or omnivores, and by the vary nature of the bear, the size and its power; there is always a potential to any individual who crosses the path of the bear.