Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (2023)

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Bears have four paws with five claws on each. Their paws are between 5-6 inches wide and 7-11 inches long. Bears use their powerful paws, and sharp claws, to maul their prey.

Did you know that grizzly bears have some of the biggest paws in the animal kingdom?

Not only that, but they also have sharp claws, which they use frequently.

But how big are grizzly bear paws, and how sharp are their claws? And how can you identify a bear print?

In this article, we’ll discuss grizzly bear paws and claws, how you can identify them, their size and sharpness, and more.

Do Grizzly Bears Have Paws?

Yes, grizzly bears do have paws. Their front paws are about five inches wide and seven inches long, while their hind paws are about six inches wide and eleven inches long.

Grizzly bears use their paws for a variety of tasks, including digging, climbing, and catching prey.

They have five toes on each paw, each with its own claw.

The pads on the bottom of grizzly bear paws act as shock absorbers when they walk, helping them avoid injury when walking over rough terrain.

Through millions of years, grizzly bears have developed specialized paws. They’re wide to support their weight, and the front paws work as paddles when they swim.

Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (1)

Do Grizzly Bears Have Claws?

Grizzly bears have long, sharp claws that they use for digging, climbing, and tearing meat. Their claws can grow up to four inches long and are a formidable weapon against predators or prey.

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Grizzlies use their claws to dig for food, excavate burrows for rodents, or hibernacula for other animals. They also use their claws to climb trees, where they often feast on honey or insects.

Claws are also important weapons and tools for grizzlies. They sometimes use them to defend themselves against predators or to kill prey.

Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (2)

Grizzly Bear Paw Facts

Here are some general facts about grizzly bears’ paws:

  • They can grow to be 6” by 11”
  • They’re wide to support their weight
  • When swimming, the front paws work as paddles
  • Due to their wide structure, they’re great for walking on ice or in harsh terrain

Grizzly Bear Paw Size

Grizzly bears have large paws. They can be up to 5 inches wide and 7 inches long for the front feet, and 6 inches wide by 11 inches long for the hind feet.

As grizzlies are large animals[1], they also need large feet to support their weight.

Their paws are used for a variety of things:

  • Swiping and mauling prey
  • Paddles for swimming
  • Walking and running

You’d think that grizzly bears wouldn’t be very good runners, due to their large feet, but this is not the case. Grizzly bears can run up to 30 mph.

Related: How Fast Can a Bear Run?

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Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (3)

How Strong Is a Grizzly Bear Paw Swipe?

Grizzly bears have some of the strongest paws in the animal kingdom. They use their powerful paws to dig for food, swipe at attackers, and to move objects.

When hunting, they typically use either their powerful bite or swipe. They’ve been known to kill smaller animals with just a single swipe of their paws.

Related: How Strong Are Bears?

How to Identify Grizzly Bear Paw Prints

Here are the indicators to look for in grizzly bear paw prints:

  • They have 5 toes on each foot.
  • Their large toe is on the inside.
  • Grizzlies’ toes are also almost completely aligned, which differentiates them from black bears.
  • Their front tracks are wider, while rear tracks are longer.

Knowing how to identify grizzly bear paw prints is important for understanding the behavior of grizzlies and for safety reasons.

The size of grizzly bear paw prints can vary depending on the grizzly bear’s sex, age, and size[2]. Male grizzlies typically have larger paws than females. Cubs have much smaller paws than adults.

When identifying bear prints, know that grizzly bears’ prints are bigger than black bears. Their toes are also more aligned (horizontally).

Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (4)

Grizzly Bear Claw Facts

Here are some facts about grizzly bear claws:

  • They can range from 2 to 4 inches
  • They’re used as weapons
  • They’re used for digging roots and excavating dens
  • They’re very sharp

Grizzly Bear Claw Size

Grizzly bear claws are quite large. They’re both long and strong, providing them with a useful, versatile tool. They’re slightly curved, but not as much as a black bear’s claws.

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Claws are versatile tools, and something most carnivorous, land-bound animals have. Their claws can be used as a weapon against potential predators or prey, or they can be used as useful tools.

Grizzly bears typically use their paws for excavating dens, or for digging up roots. They’re also used for better grip while climbing.

Related: Can Grizzly Bears Climb Trees?

Besides using their claws as weapons, grizzly bears also use their claws to mark and rub trees. Even though it looks like the grizzly is just scratching an itch when doing so, research shows that it’s a mating habit.[3]

Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (5)

Grizzly Bear Claw Length

Grizzly bears’ claws are 2” to 4” in length. Compared to black bears, grizzly bears have long claws.

Grizzly bears are one of North America’s largest land predators. Their claws are not as big as polar bears, but they’re longer than those of black bears.

Their claws can reach up to four inches in length, and play an important role in grizzlies’ hunting and scavenging habits. Black bears’ claws are usually less than 2”.

How Sharp Are Grizzly Bears Claws?

Grizzly bear claws are very sharp. They are not just for show but play an integral part of the grizzly bear’s hunting and defensive arsenal.

Their claws are used to dig for food, climb trees, and catch prey. Their claws can also inflict serious injuries on people and other grizzly bears. They are sharp and curved, which allows grizzlies to easily tear into flesh.

Besides their claws, grizzly bears also have sharp teeth and a powerful bite, which they also use on prey.

Grizzly bears have a bite force of up to 1,100 PSI.

Related: Bear Bite Force

Grizzly Bear Claw & Paw Facts (Size, Strength & More) (6)

Grizzly Bear Paw vs. Polar Bear Paw Size

Polar bears have much larger paws than grizzly bears. Their front paws can reach 12” inches wide by 12” inches long, while grizzly bears’ paws are only 5-6” wide and 7-11” long.

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While polar bears have larger feet, their claws are smaller.

Grizzly bear claws are about 2-4 inches long, depending on the individual. Polar bear claws are smaller, about 3.75 inches, but they’re sharper.

There’s a good reason why polar bears have sharper claws: they’re used for better grip on ice.[4]

For most of their lives, polar bears roam around on the ice. If they don’t have a good grip, they would slip most of the time. In combination with this, the food-pads are laced with a slip-resistant substance.

Not only does it allow them to avoid slipping, but it allows them to run across the ice without any issues.

In terms of size, grizzly bear paws are about twice the size of polar bear paws. This much larger paw size is mainly because of two things:

  • They swim a lot
  • They need to walk on ice

Polar bears are categorized as marine mammals. They spend a significant time in the water and need good paddles. The large paw size also helps them distribute their weight evenly when walking on ice.


Grizzly bear paws and claws are some of the most impressive features of the animal. They are large, strong, and sharp. Grizzly bears use their claws for a variety of activities, including digging, climbing trees, catching prey, and protecting themselves from danger.

Although grizzlies are not as common as black bears in North America, they should not be underestimated. Their size and strength make them one of the most powerful predators in the wilderness.


(Video) 20 Interesting Facts About Bears | Global Facts

  • Do Grizzly Bears Have Paws?
  • Do Grizzly Bears Have Claws?
  • Grizzly Bear Paw Facts
  • How to Identify Grizzly Bear Paw Prints
  • Grizzly Bear Claw Facts
  • Grizzly Bear Paw vs. Polar Bear Paw Size
  • Conclusion


What is the strength of a grizzly bear? ›

"Our conclusion was a grizzly bear is equal to 2.5 to 5 humans in strength.

How big is a grizzly bear claw? ›

Grizzly claws are at least 2” long and can be more than 4” long. Grizzly bears use their claws for digging roots and ground squirrels, and for excavating dens. Black bears have front claws that are much shorter, generally less than 2" in length. The claws are sharper and more curved than a grizzly bear.

How strong is a bear claw? ›

The damage from a slap is nothing close to the folklore that a bear can disembowel man or beast with a swipe of the paw. Black bear claws are strong for climbing trees, but not sharp for holding prey. Grizzly bear claws are even duller because they are used for digging.

What are grizzly bear claws made of? ›

Bear claw
TypePastry, doughnut or fritter
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsDough, almond paste
Ingredients generally usedRaisins
Media: Bear claw
1 more row

How powerful is a grizzly swipe? ›

Grizzly bears can have a paw swipe force up to 25,200 lb. -ft./s (about 783 pounds of force), which is between two to five times stronger than the punch force of the average, untrained human. Polar bears are generally considered stronger than grizzly bears – they are larger and usually run faster.

Is a gorilla stronger than a grizzly bear? ›

The gorilla's biggest advantage is its spry movement, whereas the grizzly's primary advantage is its claws. The grizzly is larger, but the gorilla is stronger. The grizzly is faster, but this will likely not matter as much beyond a possible initial charge.

What bear has the strongest claw? ›

Kodiak Bears

They can be anywhere from 250 to 800 pounds and reach over ten feet in height. Even though they might not be the biggest, they're still some of the strongest bears out there. Their large claws can measure up to four and a half inches in length, and their bite force is around 1.100 PSI.

How much damage can bear claws do? ›

The bear claws are used for attacking enemies. Damage dealt ranges from 26 to 40 depending on how long you charged. Additionally, fully charging an attack will result in a 4-strike combo, dealing 40 damage for the first hit and 16 in subsequent hits.

What bear has the biggest paw? ›

How Big are Polar Bears? A polar bear's paw can be up to 12 inches in diameter!

Can bear claws cut you? ›

No. “Razor-sharp” suggests a sharp edge, which claws don't have. They have sharp, faceted points, so they can rake; but they can't slice like a razor.

How strong are grizzly bears claws? ›

Grizzly bears are also hard hitters. When a grizzly bear swipes another animal with its paw, it can deliver more than 600 pounds of force. With its powerful paw swipe and long, sharp claws, a grizzly bear is capable of taking out many animals with a single blow.

How hard can a bear push? ›

An adult full-grown grizzly bear has enough force to lift around 500 kg weight, which is 0.8 times of its own body weight. It can also lift rocks of more than 300 kg weight with only one paw. An individual grizzly was observed dragging a full-grown moose (average weight 800 lbs) alone.

How thick are grizzly bear claws? ›

The grizzly bear has incredibly long, thick and powerful claws. The nails themselves can be 5 to 6 inches long and thicker than a cigar.

What animal has the longest claws? ›

The possibly 3.2-foot (1-meter) long claws of Therizinosaurus, which hung down like the alarming mitts of Edward Scissorhands, are said to be the longest claws of all time.

Do bear claws grow back? ›

Claws on grizzly bears are normally quite pronounced unless the bear spent a lot of time digging, which results in short, blunt claws until they grow back.

How much stronger is a grizzly bear than a human? ›

Grizzlies are twice as large, and according to a study conducted by Montana State University engineering professor Doug Cairns, they're about five times stronger than a human, probably even more when acting aggressively.

Are Grizzlies the strongest bear? ›

Among all bear species, both the grizzly bear and polar bear take the crown as the strongest. Weighing more than around 800 pounds — the maximum recorded size is twice that figure — an individual male grizzly is equivalent to around five humans in strength … and even more when enraged.

How much can a grizzly bear bench press? ›

That's 3.93x bodyweight. That would put a bear's bench at 6,690lb. A grizzly can only lift . 8 - 1x bodyweight which would be 1360-1700lb for a large bear.

How much weight can a grizzly bear lift? ›

Grizzly bear. When it comes to pure strength the Grizzly bear can lift over 500kg, 0.8 times its body weight.


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