Bears are huge and scary omnivorous beasts. There are 8 types currently existing: the Asiatic Black Bear, the North American Black Bear, Brown Bear, Panda Bear, Polar Bear, Sloth Bear, Spectacled Bear, and Sun Bear.
All of them look alike: their bodies are big, their legs are heavy, their snouts are long, their ears are small, their fur is thick, their paws have huge claws, and their tails are short.
But are there some interesting animals that are related to bears? You would be surprised that most of them look nothing like bears but are still related to them.
Bears are related to pinnipeds, musteloids, and canids. These include animals like seals, skunks, raccoons, weasels, domestic dogs, wolves, and foxes, among others. Despite many of them being significantly smaller than bears, they are all animals that can be called bears’ relatives.
Earless Seals (True Seals)
The earless seals, phocids, or true seals, are fish-eating aquatic mammals that have no visible external ears. They mostly live in the cool oceans of Antarctica and the Arctic.
Earless seal species that are related to bears are the bearded seal, crabeater seal, elephant seal, gray seal, harbor seal, harp seal, hooded seal, leopard seal, monk seal, ribbon seal, ringed seal, Ross seal, and the Weddell seal.
Walruses are large marine mammals with mustaches and long-tusks that live in freezing waters near the Arctic Circle. They are gregarious animals that sometimes live in groups of up to 100.
Walruses are almost two times heavier than bears, but that doesn’t stop bears from occasionally attacking them. These two animals had a common ancestor 45–50 million years ago.
There are two walrus species related to bears: the Pacific walrus and the Atlantic walrus.
Sea lions are large seals with short hair, long ears, and the ability to walk on all fours on land.
They are found mainly in the Pacific, on sandy shores and rocky outcrops.
Just like bears, sea lions are predators and feed on seafood, mainly squid and fish, and sometimes clams.
Six species of sea lions that are related to bears are the Galápagos sea lion, the California sea lion, the Australian sea lion, the South American sea lion, the Northern sea lion, and the New Zealand sea lion.
Fur seals are seals that have external ears, long and muscular foreflippers, and can walk on all fours. They can be found on the coasts of the Pacific and southern oceans.
Male fur seals are around five times bigger than females. They weigh about 700 pounds; which is a bit less than what polar bears weigh, for example.
There are about nine species of seals that are related to bears: the northern fur seal, the Antarctic fur seal, the Galapagos fur seal, the Juan Fernandez fur seal, the New Zealand fur seal, the brown fur seal, the South American fur seal, and the subantarctic fur seal.