Grizzly Bears

Topics: Grizzly Bear, Bear, Yellowstone National Park Pages: 6 (1846 words) Published: January 7, 2010
A subspecies of the larger coastal brown bear, the grizzly bear gets its name from the grayish, or grizzled, tips of its fur.

Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore
Average lifespan in the wild: 25 years
Size: 5 to 8 ft (1.5 to 2.5 m)
Weight: 800 lbs (363 kg)
Protection status: Threatened
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Fast Facts: Grizzly bear

Species name:Ursus arctos horribilus

Average weight:250 – 350 kg (male)
125 – 175 kg (female)

Life expectancy:15 – 20 years

The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of the brown bear.

These awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals—with the exception of females and their cubs—but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings of grizzly bears can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon run upstream for summer spawning. In this season, dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead.

Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable-looking hillside. Females give birth during this winter rest and their offspring are often twins.

Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, yet much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose.

Grizzlies are typically brown, though their fur can appear to be white-tipped, or grizzled, lending them their traditional name.

Despite their impressive size, grizzlies are quite fast and have been clocked at 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour. They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if humans come between a mother and her cubs.

Grizzlies once lived in much of western North America and even roamed the Great Plains. European settlement gradually eliminated the bears from much of this range, and today only about 1,000 grizzlies remain in the continental U.S., where they are protected by law. Many grizzlies still roam the wilds of Canada and Alaska, where hunters pursue them as big game trophies.

Did you know?

The grizzly bear is the second largest land carnivore in North America.


The grizzly bear is the second largest land carnivore in North America. It has a strong, heavy body with an average length of 1.8 metres from nose to tail. It is distinguished from other bears by the large shoulder hump that supports its massive front legs, its extremely long front claws and the concave facial profile of its large head. The grizzly bear's fur is usually darkish brown, but can vary from ivory yellow to black. It has long hairs on its head and shoulders that often have white tips and give the bear the "grizzled" appearance from which it derives its name. Its legs and feet tend to be even darker in colour. Despite its large size, the grizzly bear has been known to run at speeds of 55 kilometres per hour. It has well developed senses of smell and hearing that compensates for its poor eyesight. Habitats/Behaviours

The grizzly bear is a solitary animal. Individual bears have a home range, but these may overlap and are not fiercely defended. The grizzly's habitat can range from dense forest to alpine meadow or arctic tundra. It has no predators, other than humans. Contrary to popular belief, the grizzly bear is not a true hibernator. In the winter its body temperature may drop a few degrees and its respiration may slow slightly, but it can remain active all winter. Although it is considered a meat-eater, the grizzly bear is actually omnivorous, which means it eats both meat and vegetation. It eats mammals and spawning salmon, when they are available, but relies mainly on vegetation for food. Plants make up 80 to 90 percent of the grizzly's diet! It eats a variety of berries to gain fat deposits that helps it survive the winter months. The grizzly bear will also take advantage of food and garbage that is left...
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