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101 Facts About Grizzly Bears

  • Grizzly bears, also known as brown bears, are predominantly found in North America
  • Some species can also be found in Northern China, Korea, and Russia and are called Eurasian brown bears.
  • Adult male grizzly bears can weigh more than 500 kilograms
  • An Adult male grizzly is up to twice the weight of a female grizzly of the same age range
  • Their scientific name is Ursus arctos
  • They are part of the order Carnivora and part of the Ursidae family.
  • They have a concaved or dish-shaped face with very high brows
  • Grizzly bears have short ears, short tails, and a rump lower than their shoulders. This is one of the features that separate them from black bears.
  • Mature grizzly bears are apex predators in their home range
  • Their home range is situated where there are plenty of rivers, streams, and sometimes fruit-bearing trees

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  • The actual weight of grizzly bears fluctuates and depends on the time of the season.
  • Female bears are more miniature than male bears (they are just about 60% of an adult male grizzly bear size).
  • Grizzlies have a life span of more than 30 years. 
  • Grizzly bears have different coat colors, such as dark brown, silvery, and light brown coats.
  • Grizzly bears have long, sharp claws designed to help them to forage and dig.
  • Grizzly bears are omnivorous animals, although berries and nuts comprise approximately 80% of their nutrition.
  • They eat insects, especially bees, ants, moths, and ladybugs
  • There have been accounts of grizzly bears covering their tracks from hunters 
  • Male grizzly bears eat more meat than female grizzly bears.

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  • Grizzly bear meat consumption comes from tiny animals and rodents, although bears can sometimes bring down big animals if needed.
  • The IUCN red list considers brown bears as the slightest concern.
  • There are approximately 55,000 grizzly bears in North America
  • There are about 15,000 grizzly bears in Canada alone
  • The Alaskan province has the highest population of grizzly bears, with a population of 30,000
  • Grizzly bears are good at spotting rodent holes 

Bears can often be seen playing with each other, but do you know why?  Find out in this article I wrote
  • Grizzly bears can climb very well as cubs. Once mature, they rarely attempt to rise because of their claws.
  • Grizzly bears have sharp eyesight and can even see better than humans in some lights.
  • They recognize shapes but not too many details. 
  • Grizzly bears can walk on their back feet in a manner like humans
  • Grizzly bears have fur on their body but have hairs on their shoulders. The hair on their backs has white tips, which give them grizzled looks
  • A mature grizzly bear’s height is about 3 or 4 feet when on four legs. However, when it stands on its back feet, its  height is about 8 ft 
  • The hump on its back can recognize grizzly bears. The hump is made of muscle. This is one way to distinguish it from a Black bear
  • Most grizzly bears hibernate for about 5 to 8 months every year, usually during winter
  • Growling, roaring, and snorting are some of the ways grizzly bears communicate
  • When in captivity and not getting exercise as usual, a grizzly bear can weigh up to 1400 pounds.
  • Grizzlies have dens where they stay for the period of their hibernation
  • Grizzly bears can gain more than 150kg by feeding before hibernating
  • Grizzly bears do not eat, urinate or defecate during the entirety of their hibernation period

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  • They look around when people or animals are near.  They do this not because they can’t see but because they want a strong smell of the animal or person in the air.
  •  The length of a mature grizzly bear’s front claws is about 2 – 4 inches 
  • There are very few predators that can hunt or harm grizzly cubs
  • Mature Grizzly bears have no predators (except human beings)
  • When fighting or defending, grizzlies stand upright on their back to make themselves larger
  • Grizzly bears run extremely fast for short distances 

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  • Adult male grizzly bear usually subjects grizzly cubs to depredation, and unless protected by a female grizzly (sow), they can be killed by wolves, cougars, and other predators.
  • Grizzly bears only move together or congregate when a significant amount of food is present in a particular location.
  • Male brown bears are usually solitary animals. Only the sows move together with their cubs for a period.
  • Grizzly bears are scavengers and can feed on carcasses if necessary.
  • The bears also eat cooked human food as well as garbage. They can also kill humans for food, but it is not very common.
  • Grizzly cubs stay with their mothers for about 2 to 3 years or 2 to 3 summer seasons.
  • Female Grizzly bears do not mate when they are still caring for their cubs
  • Grizzly cubs feed only on their mother’s milk till the end of winter. They eat small solid foods together when summer begins while still drinking milk.
  • Grizzly bears do not mark territory that they defend
  • They rest a lot to conserve energy and eat to prepare for hibernation
  • Grizzly bears prefer salmon as their protein source but can also eat meat if they have no access to fish
  • Brown bears do not have multi-chambered stomachs even though they eat plant fibers like ruminants such as cows and elks

Do bears have tails? Find out here in another article I have written

  • Grizzlies are very good at catching fish. They enter shallow waters to see salmons.
  • Grizzlies only allow other bears into their home range when there is plenty of food (salmon spawn season).
  • When they are about to hibernate, brown bears eat more than 25 fish per day. They do this to gain as much fat as possible for the upcoming winter.
  • During hibernation, grizzly bears’ metabolic process and heart rate slow down to conserve fat reserves. 
  • A grizzly bear’s heartbeat slows to 8 beats per minute from its usual 40 bpm during hibernation.
  • Grizzlies can recycle their body wastes during hibernation
  • Even when hibernating, grizzly bears can wake up when they want and even move around at times
  • Some grizzly bears do not hibernate because they live in an area where food is available all year round
  • Grizzly bears always wait for snowfall to camouflage their den from predators before hibernating 
  • Grizzly bears have their mating season from May to July.

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  • They are ready for mating once they are about five years of age
  • Male Grizzly bears usually find it challenging to track female grizzles because of the low population of females
  • Brown bears have a gestation period of 180 to 250 days
  • Grizzly bears are one of the few terrestrial mammals in North America with low reproductive rates
  • Brown bears can breed with other bears, such as polar bears and the North American black bears
  • Cross-bred hybrid bears are scarce
  • Female Grizzly bears delay embryo implantation until they are about to hibernate
  • Miscarriages happen in grizzly bears when they do not gain enough weight before hibernation.

If you want to learn about bear hibernation, I have written this article

  • Brown bears give birth to an average of two cubs
  • A sow will attack anything it feels threatens her cub, even grizzly bears and other predators that are bigger than her.
  • Cubs are born when the sow is in hibernation in a winter den
  • It takes six weeks after childbirth for a cub to open their eyes
  • Female Grizzlies live longer than their male counterparts. This is because male bears incur a lot of injuries when fighting
  • A group of grizzly bears is referred to as a sleuth or sloth of bears, possibly because of their hibernation state 
  • Childbirths always occur between January and March every year.
  • Female grizzles urinate behind their back legs, while male grizzles urinate in front of their back legs.
  • Female Grizzly bears always avoid their cubs once they chase them away after weaning.
  • Grizzly bears participate in seasonal breeding fights before mating

Black bears aren’t just black; polar bears don’t have white fur.  Please find out more in this article I wrote

  • Grizzly bears occasionally enter black bears’ territory to raid for food such as nuts and berries, although black bears always stay out of domains owned by grizzly bears
  • Black bears usually run when they see grizzly bears unless the grizzly is a small one
  • Grizzly bears act as seed distributors and carriers for fruit-bearing plants.
  • Screaming or shouting after suddenly encountering a grizzly bear will only prompt it to attack
  • Female grizzlies defending their cubs are responsible for about 70% of all humans killed by grizzly bears.
  • Grizzlies usually avoid human contact and rarely engage with humans unless they defend their food source or cubs.
  • Grizzly bears are skilled swimmers
  • Brown bears can run more than 48 km/hr (30 mph)
  • Brown bears have a well-developed sense of smell. Their smell detection is even better than that of hound dogs.
  • Captive grizzlies have a life span of up to 40 years. 
  • Adult grizzlies possess large, heavily built skulls

Bears can often be seen playing with each other, but do you know why?  Find out in this article I wrote

  • Grizzly bears can smell food even if it is more than 5 kilometers away
  • A grizzly bear’s jaw is powerful and can crush a man’s head. Reports even estimate that a grizzly can crush a bowling ball with its jaws
  • Ursus arctos hornbills also mean horrible bear, a reference to their vast and massive size
  • Compared to the coastal brown bears, Alaska Peninsular brown bears are smaller
  • For 101 facts on weasels, click here.
  • Grizzly bears leave DNA samples of themselves on trees referred to as “rub trees.” The bears use these trees to scratch their back
  • Brown bears have an impressive memory and never forget where their best food source is

There are some fantastic books on grizzly bears on Amazon. My recommendations are these two:

Down from the mountain: The life and death of a grizzly bear – This is a fantastic book about Millie and her life struggles this book enough. You can buy it here on Amazon.

Grizzly bears: A falcon field guide – Falcon field guides are fantastic guides, and this one is no exception. Although only 96 pages, this packs a wealth of information on brown bears. If you are looking for grizzly bears, this guide is a must-have. You can buy it here on Amazon.

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