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There are many reasons people keep dogs and rabbits as pets rather than bears, but I think they can all be distilled to one simple truth – they don’t want to die. It’s as straightforward as that really, isn’t it?

Bears are cute and all that, but they’re also more than capable of absolutely mauling anybody who pisses them off.

Anyway, with that established, meet Stepan – a 23-year-old bear who lives in Russia.

Admittedly, around 100,000 brown bears are estimated to live in Eurasia according to the World Wildlife Fund – but unlike most Russian bears, Stepan doesn’t just live in the wild, or even in a zoo.

Credit: Caters

Oh no, he spends most of his time chilling with his owners, Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko, who presumably have no fear of death.

Stepan stands at a huge seven foot tall and weighs 21 stone. The Panteleenkos adopted him when he was only three months old, which means he’s tamer than the average bear.

Lucky for Svetlana and Yuriy, some might suggest.

I’m still not sure I’d trust living with him though. They’re a brave couple.

Talking to the Sun about how this all came about, Svetlana said: “Stepan likes nothing more than to cuddle up with us on the sofa at night while we’re watching television.

Credit: Caters

“When we adopted him, he was only three months old and had been found by hunters in the forest, having lost his mother. He was in a very bad condition.”

The pair say that Stepan is into playing football, watering plants and having picnics. A teddy bear picnic – this just writes itself, doesn’t it?

He eats 25kg of fish, vegetables and eggs every day, which must make for big mealtimes. No wonder they’ve got him earning his keep in the garden.

Svetlana added: “He absolutely loves people and is a really sociable bear.” Er, yeah, we’ll take your word for it, mate.

Credit: Caters

She added: “Despite what people might think, he is not aggressive at all. We have never been bitten by Stepan.”

Well, those guys seem pretty set with their pet bear – fair play to them for raising him since he was a cub.

Rather them than me, though.

Guess what, though? The couple aren’t anywhere close to being the first people to keep a bear as an unlikely furry friend.

Credit: Caters

For example, in the 18th Century, poet and all-round LAD Lord Byron decided to keep a bear as a pet as a ‘fuck you’ to Cambridge University, after they banned him from bringing his dog to halls. As you do.

Bad news if this is giving you ideas, though – the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 makes it hard to own a bear in the UK, with a special licence and requirements needing to be met if you want to keep one.

So, here’s a little advice from me to you – maybe just get a dog.

Featured Image Credit: Caters

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