On the surface, Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko look like a typical couple, but there’s an unusual third wheel in their relationship - a 23-year-old bear called Stepan.

Stepan is gentle and domesticated, snuggling down with the Russian couple to watch TV in the evenings and even eating dinner at their table with them.

But living with a bear is no small feat, especially since Stepan is a towering 7 foot tall and weighs a hefty 300 pounds.

He eats a substantial 25kg of fish, vegetables and eggs every day, making mealtimes at the Panteleenko's quite a big deal.

He’s also partial to porridge, although his favourite dish is condensed milk.

Fortunately, Stepan’s active lifestyle keeps him fit, and he burns off his impressive intake by playing football with his owners.

And the helpful bear makes sure he earns his keep by helping out around the garden – it turns out that he has a knack for watering plants.

Svetlana and Yuriy adopted the massive mammal when he was just three months old, meaning that he was taken in at a young enough age to ensure he grew up to become completely tame.

His unusual bond with his owners is so strong that the gentle giant enjoys cuddling on the sofa with them.

Svetlana said: “Stepan likes nothing more than to cuddle up with us on the sofa at night while we're watching television.

“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.”

Yuriy even play fights with the towering creature in the garden, but Stepan's owners believe they have no reason to fear their powerful pet.

Svetlana added: “He absolutely loves people and is a really sociable bear - despite what people might think, he is not aggressive at all. We have never been bitten by Stepan.

“He's got so many talents and loves a picnic.

“It's a wonder he doesn't eat us out of house and home.”