Bears are wonderful creatures. If you want to create an Intelligent Gerbil alien from one, you don't have to alter its appearance much, since they can already take bipedal form and are effectively Humanoid Aliens already (to note the most obvious similarities besides the partial bipedalism, they are plantigradenote omnivores). Indeed, any furry humanoid creature that doesn't explicitly appear to be some other kind of creature will appear more or less ursine. Beary Funny, Beary Friendly and Bears Are Bad News are all possible.
Another possible reason for the presence of this trope is the apparent association between bears and stars, based on the famous Ursa Major/Ursa Minor (Greater Bear/Smaller Bear respectively) constellations.
A special group of them are not just any old bear, but explicitly teddy bears. These are either an extremely good natured race, or for ironic effect, extremely nasty.
See also Beast Man.
- Perhaps the most familiar examples are Star Wars's Wookiees (which also have some ape- or Bigfoot-like aspects) and Ewoks (tribal warriors resembling teddy bears or perhaps drop bears). The original Expanded Universe also includes the Drall (more badger-like than bear-like, though they do have the classic bipedal "teddy-bear" stance) and the ZeHethbra (though given that they have tails, they might actually be based on wolverines).
- The Hokas in Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka series are intelligent teddy bears. Beary Funny, assuming you aren't too fond of your sanity.
- In John Hemry's The Lost Fleet book Invincible, they reconstruct the aliens that attacked them on sight and to Geary's surprise they were attacked by "teddy bears." They discover the creatures are herbivores and decide that the "teddy" is inapproriate, so they dub them "bear-cows".
- In Guardian, many humans back home are disgruntled that they fought against living teddy bears — and with the help of aliens that are revolting mixtures of wolf and spider in appearance.
- Specifically, the "bear-cows" may be herbivores, but they will attack any race they perceive to be a predator... or a fellow prey who might infringe on their pastures. Basically, anyone is fair game to them. When Geary first sends a visual message, he smiles, only to be told by an "expert" that what he's just done is show them his predatory teeth (Truth in Television, most animal "smiles" are, in fact, warnings to stay away).
- In Gordon R. Dickson's Spacepaw and Spacial Delivery, the Dilbians are described as intelligent grizzly bears. They're noted for being good-humored and good-natured Gentle Giants.
- The Lindauzi in The Wild Boy-although there were mentions of panther or dog-like features, bear-like is the most common description, the cover illustration clearly shows it.
- The Helmsman Saga features a civilization of walking bears (expies of Russia).
- The Humanx Commonwealth features the Ulru-Ujurrians, who look like large bears.
- Isaac Asimov's story "No Connection" features a civilization of bears which evolved on a postapocaliptic Earth.
- The Bulrathi in the Line of Delirium series were more-or-less directly lifted from the Master of Orion series.
- Lukyanenko did expand on their culture, considering the version he used from the first Master of Orion, which didn't provide much background. In the books, the Bulrathi are a Proud Warrior Race Guy culture, who value hand-to-hand (or paw, if you want to be technical) combat over standard warfare. They also have falsetto voices, making them good tenors (when they're not ripping your head off). In fact, their obsession with direct combat leads to them developing a method to defeat the Silicoids' natural Deflector Shields (most races just shoot at them) using their high-pitched voices in a manner similar to how a singer can shatter a crystal glass with her voice. They are also stated to be scavengers, preferring to eat something that has been dead for days. In terms of clothing, they generally wear skirts (sometimes metal skirts), since their tough hides can handle almost anything an unarmed human can do to them. A human gift shop on their homeworld has a display of "authentic" Bulrathi armor, except the experienced protagonist immediately assumes it's fake, since it covers far too much body for the Honor Before Reason Bulrathi.
- In The Host one of the alien planets that Wanda has previously been on is one nicknamed "bear." They have four hearts and long claws for weapons and to carve ice sculptures.
- In C. J. Cherryh's The Faded Sun trilogy, the companion animals of the Mri were the dusei (singular "dus"), bearlike creatures who were similar to one-owner dogs and somewhat empathic to their masters through touch.
- The Pila in David Brin's Uplift universe are Heavy Worlders who look like gray four-foot teddy bears with short snouts and funny hairs around their eyes, and their voices are so high-pitched that they need special equipment for many species (including humans) to even hear them. They are famously fanatical and conservative: they hate humans and won their independence as a species by declaring a holy war on the species that had uplifted them to sentience (with the approval of the patrons' patrons). They also treat their indentured species, the Pring, very harshly.
- the Shandi from Strata are part bear, part walrus and generally extremely polite and civilized, aside from their habit of fighting tooth-and-claw duels for things like government research grants...where the loser gets eaten.
- Harry Turtledove's "The Road Not Taken" features an invasion of Earth by the Roxolani, a a space-faring race of teddy bear-like conquerors.
- The Llyano in Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark are a race of primitive furry hunters (despite their early references painting them as a hostile interstellar empire), whose only contact with the outside universe comes in the form of trade posts. They normally walk upright, but, when hunting in the woods, it's much easier for them to move on all fours. Being at the hunter-gatherer stage, they're not likely to become a space-faring race anytime soon. They don't really fight among themselves, and their main enemies are a number of predatory species.
- Parodied in Earth (The Book), where images show some of the human ideas of what aliens might look like. Among them were Chewbacca (with the "Like a bear" subtitle) and ALF (with the "Like a gay bear" subtitle).
- In the Neighborhood Of Make Believe segments of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood there is a Purple Panda from the Planet Purple.
- Suggested in one sketch of The Whitest Kids U' Know where a press conference about a bear infestation of the US secret moonbase accidentally indicates the existence of Saturn bears while assuring people the bears on the moon are believed to be Earth bears. Though the end of the sketch reveals the entire thing was a fake meant to distract people from an invasion of Iran.
- Technically the Ursas of the Terracide setting (6th edition Hero System) aren't aliens, but genetically-engineered humans. But since they have bear DNA spliced into their genomes, they're close enough to count.
- The Urseminites from Bulldogs are adorable little roly-poly teddy-bear-things that are generally presumed to have been genetically engineered as children's playmates. They are an entire species of psychopaths with odious personal habits.
- The Kleibor from the old Pacesetter RPG Star Ace are usually good-natured psychic bears hailing from a mostly-icy planet under the thumb of the setting's Evil Empire. They can be player characters, which can be handy because of their racial gift for picking up new languages from native speakers in a matter of minutes (in addition to whatever individual other powers they may have) even if their mitt-like hands limit their manual dexterity.
- Subverted in Starfinder, where the first playable ursines in the game are ordinary bears uplifted to sapience with advanced technology.
- The Bulrathi in the Master of Orion series. Their homeworld is Ursa.
- The Brutes from Halo combine various traits of gorillas and bears (perhaps with a bit of rhino thrown in).
- In Guile and Abel's ending in Street Fighter X Tekken, Pandora's box summons a race of aliens that look like small blue bears. Abel thinks they're adorable; Guile, patience run out, leaves.
- The Kulrathi from Star*Drive
- Sands of Destruction has the Ursa Major species, which look like regular bears, and the Ursa Minor species, which look like teddy bears.
- BattleBlock Theater has a gigantic bear wearing star pasties living in space who is shot down at the end of the game by a huge laser coming from an infernal top hat. Naturally, nothing of this makes any sense at all, despite what the narrator says.
- The Tediz from Conker's Bad Fur Day are full-on teddy bear fascists.
- Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon: Long John Siver is depicted as a bear-like, humanoid cyborg.
- Sacred Pie has the Bambolos (although they're known to the main characters primarily as "those stupid froo-froo bears"), parodies of the Ewoks from Star Wars that look rather more koala-ish than the originals.
- From Schlock Mercenary the Ob'enn who look like four-foot bipedal koalas. Technologically advanced, religiously xenocidal and frequently referred to as the Psycho-bears.
- And our "heroes" second starship, and first Sapient Ship, was built by them. Since then he's subjugated the most aggressive races of the galaxy, including the Ob'enn, declared war on a species composed of dark matter from another galaxy, and pretty much named himself God.
- There's also the Ursumari, though they're not actually aliens. Instead, they're uplifted Ursus maritimus, and their appearance is practically unchanged.
- The preschool show Caillou features an episode where the children disagree on what game to play: one wants to pretend they are bears, while the others want to play astronauts. They compromise that they will be astronauts and visit a planet inhabited by alien bears.
- The title character of Muzzy in Gondoland is an alien who looks somewhat like a bipedal green bear.
- In the parody of Star Wars done on Family Guy, the Ewoks, who in the source material are only vaguely ursine, appear as literal little bears. This is because they're being played by Tim the Bear from The Cleveland Show.
- Two of those were featured in Courage the Cowardly Dog, trying to capture a runaway alien worm. The bears and the worm were apparently the pets of a gigantic rubber-forehead alien little girl called "Tulip".
- The Care Bears are definitely not from Earth, having come from some sort of alternate dimension according to the first two movies the series had. They also prefer to live all the way up in the sky.
- The Ro-Bear Berbils of ThunderCats look like a race of cyborg teddy bears (Return of the Jedi and its Ewoks had come out fairly recently when the show premiered). According to the British ThunderCats comic book, they were a race of huge and savage bearlike warriors in the distant past, before civilizing themselves into benign cuteness.
- Likewise, Mighty Orbots also features an episode with a planet of Ewok expies.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series has the Ursinoids, furry humanoids with bear-like snouts and fangs. A male and a female, both of whom work as miners on the planet Motherlode, appear in the episode "Mudd's Passion".