WATCH: Wild Video Shows Bear Climb Tree in Jaw-Dropping Amount of Time

by Caitlin Berard
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(Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

There’s no such thing as a “friendly” bear, at least not in the way that a dog or cat is considered friendly. They’re wild animals capable of causing severe injury and even death, should they choose to attack.

That said, there are varying levels of ferocity among the species. Grizzlies and polar bears, for example, are highly aggressive, making black bears and pandas positively cuddly in comparison.

Attacks are by no means common, however, regardless of species. On the contrary, a human suffering a bear attack is exceedingly rare. And that is a fact for which we should all be grateful, as a human cannot outrun a bear.

A brown bear, for instance, can run 35 mph and maintain that speed for hours on end. Meanwhile, a human can run an average of 15 mph. You wouldn’t stand a chance, my friend.

They’re also fantastic swimmers and climbers, so there’s no escape by water or tree, either. In fact, bears can climb shockingly fast. While you or I could climb a tree in a few minutes, provided there were plenty of branches to act as footholds, a bear can scale a tree in a matter of seconds.

Take this black bear, for example. In just 30 seconds, he or she is capable of climbing at least 100 feet – and that’s a conservative estimate. The video above appears to show an even faster climb.

Let’s say you do encounter a black bear in the wild. In all likelihood, it will run away after spotting you. But if it doesn’t, don’t run and don’t climb.

Instead, make yourself appear as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping your eyes on the animal. Running makes it far more likely that the bear will perceive you as prey, triggering a chase response.

California Hiker Comes Within Inches of a Black Bear

When outdoor enthusiast Victoria Pham encountered a black bear on a hiking trail in California, she had very few options. She couldn’t get out of its path, as the trail was bordered by cliffs on either side. She also couldn’t back away, as the animal would simply follow her down the trail.

So, Victoria used what she learned on the search and rescue team for Yosemite National Park. She stood as close to the edge of the trail as she could and waited for the bear to pass.

“I do recognize that it is a BEAR and can do serious damage,” she clarified in the caption of the post sharing the experience. “I was already on the trail where I wouldn’t be able to outrun the bear going downhill or engage [it] to go back up the trail since there were hikers ahead.”

“Know that if I was in Montana or anywhere else in the world, I most definitely would NOT be standing there letting it pass.”

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