Want to make a bad situation worse? Add a bear!
Just as monkeys are used to make something funnier, bears have a knack for scaring the crap out of everyone. Polar and brown bears are the largest extant land-based predators in the world, with a penchant for aggressive behavior, so it's easy to see why.note 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.
In many a film and television show, our heroes will quite often find themselves cooped up in a cabin as a killer bear is just outside, trying to get in.
Another issue is that bears are very intelligent (often regarded as being very close to chimpanzees) and they actually have individual personalities. This adds to their unpredictability, as how a bear reacts to a certain situation will entirely depend on both the bear itself and the mood it's in at the time.
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." Even the original Proto-Indo-European word was related to the word for "destruction", proving just how ancient this particular Primal Fear is.
Incidentally, this same fear has also inspired great respect, as such, a great way to raise the credentials of any badass, villain, or Anti-Hero if you give them a bear. Especially as a mount, because there's nothing cooler than riding a bear... except maybe a robot bear or zombie bear, or a bear made of fire or ice...
Ursine Aliens can also invoke this.
Do not confuse this with The Bad News Bears (the Trope Namer, though not an example), with the Bearer of Bad News, with The Bear, which is about a big hairy Manly Gay guy, or with Exit, Pursued by a Bear, though that trope's name is an example of this trope. In the Land Down Under, you should watch out for drop bears, though those are supposedly carnivorous koalas rather than actual bears — but even real koalas can be plenty dangerous in their own right, being Australian Wildlife and all. Mama Bear may be related but is usually metaphorical.
For animals that tend to get a similar treatment, see Savage Wolves, Cruel Elephant, Rhino Rampage, Maniac Monkeys (and Killer Gorilla), Threatening Shark, and Reptiles Are Abhorrent (and Never Smile at a Crocodile). Often a Super-Trope to Fighting Panda, for when pandas are portrayed as martial artists capable of kicking ass.
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- Edwin Landseer's Man Proposes, God Disposes shows a pair of hungry polar bears viciously scavenging the wreckage of the ill-fated John Franklin expedition from 1845. If the painting itself wasn't nightmarish enough on its own, there's a handful of superstitions and urban legends surrounding it, which claim that whoever stares at it for too long will be driven to madness, and students of the Royal Holloway, University of London, where the painting is currently hung, believe it gives bad luck to them and can cause them to fail at exams.
- Boonie Bears: Downplayed. While the eponymous bears do have a tendency to mess with Logger Vick, it's only in relation to his job as a woodcutter since the bears don't want their forest destroyed. The bears are actually on decent terms with Logger Vick otherwise and would never outright attack him.
- Happy Heroes: In episode 10, a bear attacks Big M. and makes off with his bread. It comes back at the end of the episode, this time going after his fish.
- Lamput: In "Skinny Monster", Fat Doc tries to get the attention of a creature he thinks is Slim Doc as a monster. Slim Doc comes back a few seconds later and demonstrates his monster potion has worn off; the creature Fat Doc poked turns out to be a bear and chases the two for having pestered it.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: It's a Running Gag that Wolffy has a tendency to be attacked or otherwise bothered by bears.
- Calvin and Hobbes has a Story Arc where Calvin decides to run away from home with Hobbes because he tried to push the car out of the garage and it accidentally rolled into a ditch. Walking through the woods, they think they hear something big crashing through the brush, and climb a tree out of fear that it's a bear:
Calvin: There it is! The bear's coming out of the brush! Oh no! It looks like it's on its hind legs! Bears stand up only when they're really mad!!
Hobbes: Wait, that's not a bear. That's your mom!
Calvin: AAUGHH! EVEN WORSE! CLIMB HIGHER! CLIMB HIGHER!
- 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.
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.
- 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:
And no one ever heard from the Anderson Brothers again.
- In one strip a shark tricks a bunch of beach-goers into the water by shouting "Bear! Bear!"
- In another one, the well-known fact that female bears are fiercely protective of their offspring was lampooned, where the cartoon had a tired office worker absentmindedly stepping into an elevator between a mother grizzly and her cub. (She seemed docile in the scene as shown, but according to the caption, what was about to happen would not be pleasant.)
- Another one has two boys playing catch with what appears to be a teddy bear...
"C'mon Look at these fangs! Look at these claws! You think we're supposed to eat just honey and berries"
- Another has two bears observing some picnickers, and one says to the other:
- Garfield tends to have trouble with bears on Jon's Horrible Camping Trips; one of the worst (which provides the current image for Mistaken Identity) 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.
- A recurring storyline in Non Sequitur is "Homer the Reluctant Soul" which involves Homer's 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. (Its name in the afterlife is Maurice; when he confronts it there, it simply says, "Right, like the food chain is my fault?")
- Rhymes With Orange has a strip set in an office building. There's a live bear in a display case with the case labeled, "To put your emergency in perspective, break glass."
- In "The Brown Bear of the Green Glen", John's first impression; it has to threaten him to get him out of the tree.
- "The Cat on the Dovrefell": The traveler's white bear chases a huge pack of trolls out of the farm when one of them disrupts its sleep.
- "Goldilocks": They were bad news for a girl who was dumb enough to break into the house of three bears, damage the furniture, and then take a nap there until they came back.
- "Kolobok": A starving wild bear tries to devour the main character.
- In the folk tale of Masha and the Bear, a young girl has to outwit a bullying bear who's press-ganged her into becoming his servant for taking shelter in his house while he was out.
- In one Appalachian folk tale, a grandmother sends her grandson to buy baking soda. The boy buys the baking soda, but on the way home, he has to cross a bridge under which a bear lives. The bear eats the boy. Every time a member of the family goes to see what happened to the boy, they too run into the bear and get eaten. Finally, the family's pet squirrel is the only one left, and he also comes across the bear. Before the bear can eat him, the squirrel outsmarts the bear and the bear coughs up the humans.
- A Russian joke goes something like this:
A guy is lost in the woods, so he just stands there and keeps shouting "Hello!"
Suddenly, he feels a pat on the shoulder. He turns around and sees a bear, who asks, "Dude, why are you yelling?"
"In case someone hears me?"
"Well, I heard you. Feeling better?"
- There's a joke about someone in the woods who finds a praying bear. There are many versions of it.
A hunter is out hunting bear in the woods. He sees one, lines up his sights, takes a shot, and misses. The bear sees the hunter and charges towards him. The hunter tries to take another shot, but finds he's out of ammo. He throws down the gun and starts running away, but he realizes that the bear is going to catch up to him.
- The version where it's a generic hunter in the woods:
The hunter falls to his knees and starts praying. He says, "Dear Lord, I ask that you let this bear find some religion before he does me in."He turns around, and the bear stops, falls to its knees, and starts praying. The bear says, "Dear Lord, for this food I am about to receive, I am truly grateful..."
There's a Christian who's hiking in the woods one day when he comes upon an angry bear. The bear stands up on its hind legs and growls ferociously, clearly preparing to charge. In panic, the Christian starts to run, but the bear follows close on his heels.
- The version where it's a Christian in the woods:
Finally the hiker comes to a cliff, so he drops to his knees and asks God to please make this bear a good Christian bear. To the hiker's amazement, the bear suddenly stops growling, falls to his knees and folds his paws together in prayer! "Thank you, Lord!" exclaimed the Christian."Thank you, Lord!" exclaims the bear, "for this meal I'm about to receive!"
A man, out for a walk in the woods came across a bear. Frightened for his life, he ran as fast as he could to escape and hide in a cave. He was horrified to find that the bear followed him into the cave trapping him. He closed his eyes and recited "Shema Yisrael" in anticipation of his final moments. When he is finished, he opens his eyes and is surprised to see the bear in front of him with his eyes closed — also praying!
- The version where it's a Jew in the woods:
The man thinks to himself "how lucky am I to be cornered by what must be the only Jewish bear! He's frum! We're mishpocheh... and I'm not Kosher. I'm saved!" He then listens more carefully to the bear's prayer: "...hamotzi lechem min haaretz."
A photographer, who was also a confirmed atheist, decided to go into the woods to capture photos of the fall foliage. It was a beautiful day: fall colors, birds chirping, a babbling brook, and a gentle breeze rustling the leaves.
- The version where it's an atheist in the woods (the longest one):
While snapping shots, the photographer heard a noise behind him and whirled around to see a huge bear coming through the bushes.
He dropped his camera and ran. And kept running and running... and looking behind him, he noticed the bear was gaining on him! He was so scared that tears came to his eyes. He ran faster, but the bear was closing in on him. He ran faster yet and tripped over a root. Rolling over onto his back, the man saw the bear rise to his full height and raise a huge paw... and the atheist cried out, "Oh, God, no!"
And everything stopped. The birds stopped chirping. The brook stopped babbling. The gentle breeze stopped. And the bear froze with his paw in the air. And the man heard a booming voice say, "Young man. For years you've doubted my very existence, but now that your life is in peril you call my name to help you. Why should I do so?"
And the man thought for a moment, and said, "Yes, you are right. If you are God, then it would be hypocritical of me to become a Christian at this point in my life. But, do you think that you could at least make the bear a Christian for today?" And the booming voice was quiet for a moment and then said, "Done."
And everything started again. The birds chirping, brook babbling, and gentle breeze rustling the leaves. And the bear slowly lowered his paw. Then the bear put his paws together, and bowed his massive head and said, "Dear Lord, please bless this food we are about to eat."
- An old hunter's joke: How do you tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear? Climb a tree. If the bear climbs up after you and kills you, it's a black bear. If it knocks the tree down and kills you, it's a grizzly bear. And if there's no tree in sight, it's a polar bear.
- A Feghoot, courtesy of Tumblr:
If you find yourself hiking and you see a bear, there are three ways to avoid confrontation with the animal. The first way is the most well-known, is to size them up and make yourself look large to dissuade them from engaging. Another one I heard about is to attempt camouflage with the darker areas of the forest (although I can’t confirm this one). A third way that is extremely unlikely is to already be hiking with me, since every morning I take a bath in bear pheromones (do not ask why, it’s a thing).
So darken your clothes, or strike a violent pose. Maybe they’ll leave you alone (but not me)
But if you're sitting there beside her/And a bear comes in the room/And you keep on going 'cause you're unaware/Then you know that you are there/Beyond the silver rainbow/You won't know if you're coming or going
- Subverted in Grandaddy's "Silver Lake" video — at one point the band is performing in a small cabin, Jason Lytle opens the door, sees a bear and immediately shuts the door again. The bear then lets himself in through the back door, to the band's visible concern... But apparently it just enjoyed the music and wanted to rock out to it — the bear even gives Lytle a high five. Adding to the humor is deliberate Special Effect Failure — the bear is obvious green-screened stock footage when it's outside the door, and a man in a bear suit once it's inside.
- If you are the band Horion and 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 1000 foot tall polar bear stomping on an oil refinery station.
- Nekrogoblikon has a song called Bears.
Claws leaving scars, giant teeth tearing skin,
Fur on the outside and darkness within!
- Radiohead's album Kid A's marketing campaign told a vague but disturbing story about genetically modified bears killing everyone. The "Radiohead Bear" has remained the band's logo ever since.
- "Bears" by the Royal Guardsmen is built around this trope.
- The Bible:
- Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-24, while walking up to Bethel, was insulted by some bandits. They had called him "baldhead" 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 12ish 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: "As if a man should run from a lion and be attacked by a bear."
- 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. Though Celtic lore does mention the bear as the king of the animals (a distinction kept until the popularity of the lion as a symbol for Jesus).
- The Inuit and other Arctic peoples had mixed opinions about polar bears. On one hand, they are the biggest living terrestrial carnivore, so they were obviously feared. On the other, their mythologies usually held the polar bear with a lot of respect, as a sacred shamanic symbol.
- Davy Crockett. King of the wild frontier. Killed a bear when he was only three.
- Native American Mythology:
- Averted by many 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 "Just So" Story of Devil's 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.
- There's a very important difference between black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears are generally regarded as the positive aspects of the bear, being peaceable and shy. Grizzly bears are almost literally called Ax-Crazy in some legends.
- 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...
- ...so, when you see a polar bear, it's the Goddess giving you the finger. Makes sense.
- Japanese Mythology: The 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.
- Classical Mythology: 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 Action Girl.
- One possible etymology of King Arthur's name is a derivation from *artos, which means bear, and he sure was bad news for the Saxons.
- The family in Vacation America panics when a grizzly bear approaches them in the middle of taking a picture.
- In In Strange Woods, a bear visits the site of the annual Turkey Drop on New Year's Eve, threatening a neighbor's dog and the guests. Peregrine successfully driving it off is what convinces her mother to let her do the Final.
- The Muppet Show: In one skit, the Swedish Chef is cooking at a campsite, and is annoyed by a group of squirrels. Eventually, he gets angry and chases them offstage with a cleaver. A few seconds later, a bear—who has the cleaver—chases him back onstage and offstage in the other direction, with the squirrels laughing their heads off.
- Several sports teams such as the Memphis (originally Vancouver) Grizzlies (basketball), the Chicago Cubs (baseball), the Chicago Bears (football), and the Boston Bruins (hockey).
- Comedian Mitch Hedberg had a joke where he and a friend decided to go out to the woods to do drugs in order to avoid authority figures only to run into a bear, which was "even more of a buzzkill". The friend attempted to appease the bear by promising to prevent forest fires. Smokey is way more intense in person.
- The Bad Idea Bears from Avenue Q, look adorable, but they. are. EVIL!!!!!!!!!
- Siegfried sets one loose on Mime in The Ring of the Nibelung.
- 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.
- William 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).
- Graalok the Ash Bear from BIONICLE, who briefly terrorizes Takua and Jaller in Mask of Light. Bonus points for being a cyborg bear.
- The first figure in the BMOG toyline is Ursenal, who is essentially a bear made of guns. His profile◊ states that he's technically a good guy, but his tendency to shoot first and ask questions later is... problematic, to say the least.
- Japanese artist Mori Chack's Gloomy Bear line is based around this trope. The titular bear, despite its cute, pink appearance, is often coated in blood, and is described as violent and wild. He's often seen mutilating his human "friend" Pitty in artwork featuring the two.
- Averted by teddy bears. They're so soft and cute and huggable! Unless you go by Cute Is Evil.
- The main premise of the Teddy Scares line is that teddy bears rejected and outgrown by their owners have come back as undead monsters. The best examples are Rita Mortis and Redmond Gore, who are both very violent and antisocial.
- Transformers: Generation 1 had a Pretender Bear named Chainclaw. He was an Autobot. And a hypochondriac.
- The main Beast Wars toyline had at least one. Polar Claw transformed a polar bear. He was repainted into two other characters, Barbearian/Grizzly-1 and Survive. The Mutant Icebird also turned into a polar bear as one of his alternate modes (the other being a snow owl).
- They're learning Kung Fu now. We're all gonna die.
- These traditional American values
- Preying on public fear and stereotypes, the following hoax describes a 19-year old Russian girl and her stepfather get eaten alive by a literal Mama Bear and cubs.
- Speaking of Russians, various caricature artists use this trope as a metaphor for Russia.
- Even memes aren't safe from this trope. Polar bears can even carry a FUCKING CHAINSAW!
- The Nazis probably felt this way about Voytek. A bear... that drinks, smokes, fights, and carries ammo. However, in his personal life Voytek was known as a kind and lovable fuzzball, who loved sweets, baths, and hanging out with his buddies. A case where he brought this upon someone: one day when Voytek went to the steam baths, he found an enemy spy hiding in them. He roared and backhanded the spy, who promptly surrendered, presumably not having expected a bear to blow his cover. What's amazing is that throughout his military career, he caught spies that sneaked into his base, not once but twice. Voytek was rewarded with cool bath and bottles of beer. So he was punching Nazis before Harrison Ford made it cool.
- 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 later... it was guarding and protecting their corpses. The disturbing implication that the bear had come to enjoy the taste of human flesh, to the point where it jealously guarded the corpses, makes 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.
- 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.
- What's scarier than a bear? A rabid bear. One managed to smash through a house once and savaged everything in it until it was shot to death by the owner. The bear even head-on charged his jeep! If Cujo was bad, this is much worse.
- There's a reason the expression "loaded for bear" means "carrying the biggest 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. A party of Eastern European hunters once cornered a large male brown bear— after they shot it twice with a 9.3x74mm double rifle, the bruin did not show the least desire to die, but charged them furiously, prompting the leader to perform the quickest reload of both barrels in his lifetime and shoot again, only to see that it did not even stop the furious bear, let alone kill it. The entire party ran away like madmen, and when they could scrounge enough guts to go back, they found the bear dead: all four expanding rounds had hit, one of them almost cut down a hind leg, yet the bear survived long enough to charge them.
- As depicted in Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell had been hanging around bears for thirteen years 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. It was described as being a particularly harsh fall, with a salmon run that was far below average and bears that were hungrier and more aggressive than usual. Guess it doesn't matter how much of a strong connection you have to nature when there's a food shortage... it didn't help that he had stayed longer than planned, and the bears that did know him weren't the ones in the area any more.
- 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 hideaway... shared by a bear. The bear killed two and severely injured a third. The cave was shared, not the pudding. This may be why the bear attacked.
- 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." Climbing a tree is not a foolproof solution to bears. Bears, even grizzlies, have been known to climb trees, too. Standing on the ground, a big bear can reach as much as 10 feet into a tree.
Lewis: (in his journal) I find that the curiossity of our party is pretty well satisfyed with rispect to this anamal.
- In 2006, a brown bear nicknamed "Bruno" by the press became something of a cause célèbre when it wandered into southern Germany from Austria, making him the first wild bear to be seen in Germany since 1838. 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.
- There was a drug bust of a Marijuana farm guarded by 10 black bears. However, 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.
- As if World War III wouldn't be bad enough, it was almost started by a bear. More precisely, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a black bear tripped an intruder alarm at a US Air Force installation in Duluth, Minnesota, putting the entire base on full alert and nearly starting World War III.
- 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.
- It's not just the marathon. In Svalbard, you are required to carry a rifle while outside a settlement for self-defense against polar bears.
- Why a rifle? Because shooting a polar bear in the face with a handgun won't make it stop.
- The Sloth bear of Mysore, which plagued the Mysore province in India in 1957. The Sankebetsu Brown Bear incident, seen above, is scary, but while that killed seven people, and wounded two others, the sloth bear of Mysore killed 12 people, and mutilated a dozen others, making it the single bear responsible for most human fatalities ever. To make matters scarier? No one really knows why the bear attacked, it only ate three of its victims, so this cannot have been the primary motivation, implication that it was a "thrill killer", remains. And to make matters even worse, sloth bears attacks by clawing the face of their victims with their long claws, perfectly adapted for destroying termite mounds. Yep, that's right, most of those that died had their face torn apart, and most of those who survived live with such a face for the rest of their life. Eventually, after three hunts, Great White Hunter Kenneth Anderson shot it dead.
- Les Stroud, aka the Survivorman, gets dropped into environments all over the world armed with nothing bigger than a small knife and spends the week by himself demonstrating how to survive in that situation, and has made a point of usually not having a firearm with him despite being in environments with the potential for hostile wildlife (plus, hunting for food would be easier). The exception was when he filmed an episode on Baffin Island, and authorities required him to carry a rifle, specifically because of the danger of polar bears.
- The Sankebetsu brown bear incident, which took place in Hokaido, in late 1915. It resulted in the deaths of seven people (one of whom was pregnant) over the course of five days, and wrecked multiple houses. It's believed that the cause for the attack was the bear (who went on to be named "Kesagake", which means "the diagonal slash from the shoulder") awoke early from hibernation, leading him to become more ravenous and aggressive.
- What's worse than a single bear mauling you? A pack of bears! Four bears mauled a female wolf to death in a Dutch Zoo while the other wolves trying to save her...
- Bears were also bad news for Neanderthals, with a 2016 study finding that 45 out of 124 sampled Neanderthal skeletons had been victims of a bear attack.
- Even their skeletons ain't immune to this trope, as they look frightening and even near-demonic.
- Among truckers in The '70s, "bear" was CB radio slang for a highway patroller, whose hats resembled that worn by Smokey Bear in public service announcements. Hence the title of Smokey and the Bandit.
- In 2004, the city government of the small town of Grafton, New Hampshire was taken over by libertarians who stopped enforcement of many regulations - including rules prohibiting leaving out food and waste that might attract bears. Several town residents started deliberately feeding the local bears; which attracted them to everyone's homes. When they couldn't eat garbage; they would go after backyard chickens and outdoor pets or try to get into the houses. Many residents eventually moved out of town. Documented in "A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear".
- Bears were so feared in Medieval Europe that a special type of spear was developed to hunt them; its salient feature was a stout crossbar behind the head, meant to prevent the speared bear from pushing itself down the shaft to attack the wielder. (A similar but smaller type of spear was used to hunt wild boars, for much the same reason.)
- A more metaphorical sort of bear: the berserkers (literally "bear-shirts") of Norse mytho-history were said to fight with the ferocity of angry bears, or even transform into bears during battle in the more fanciful tellings. In reality, they were probably "just" the most hardened and experienced warriors in an army, who wore bear-skin cloaks or tunics as a badge of rank, and who psyched themselves up and intimidated the enemy before battle by roaring and chewing their shields like bears. (Bonus: given that the body types favored by Norse warriors tended towards Stout Strength, using their own bodies as barricades and battering rams in shield-wall warfare, many berserkers were likely The Bear as well.)
Waldorf: We better exit, before we're pursued by ours!