Grizzly Bear Facts & Trivia, Information, and Photos
A powerful symbol of the backwoods, the grizzly bear displays its dominance in a majestic manner. Standing tall with a courageous state of mind, the bear reminds us to walk our ground and never be afraid.
The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) is the strongest species of bear in North America and is awe-inspiring to adventurers and explorers. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts & trivia, and photos of the grizzly bear.
Grizzly Bear Information
Grizzly bears are members of the brown bear family. The term "grizzly" refers to the appearance of the hair on the back of mature bears, which is light brown with white tips, giving it a "grizzled," or gray, appearance. Grizzly bears are typically larger than black bears. Females, also called “sows,” can weigh between 300 to 440 pounds, while males, also known as “boars,” can weigh from 400 to 800 pounds. Grizzly bears can be 5 to 8 feet long (nose to tail) and stand 3 to 4 feet tall at the shoulder. They are capable of running at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and are also able to swim and climb.
Grizzly bears have a distinct hump on their shoulders, which is a mass of muscle that provides them with tremendous strength for digging, moving rocks and trees, and mauling their prey. They also have long claws that measure as much as five inches long. Grizzly bears are considered the dominant predator throughout their natural range, and depending on the availability of prey, they may require a home range of up to 500 square miles in order to support themselves.
Grizzlies typically live a solitary life (except for mothers and cubs), though they may congregate in areas with abundant supplies of food. They are usually only social during times of breeding. As a result, they do not have strong mating ties, and rarely stay with a mate for more than a month. Grizzly bear mating season takes place between May and July, but grizzlies undergo a "delayed implantation" where the fertilized egg does not start to develop until the bear begins dormancy. The period of gestation lasts between 6 and 8 weeks. Birth will take place while the bear is dormant, and the cubs will begin nursing while the bear is still in dormancy. The usual number of cubs in a litter is two, but they are capable of having up to four, or even just one. The cubs will stay with their mother for approximately two years, and then separate to find their own territory. A grizzly bear can live up to 25 years.
Grizzly Bear Facts & Trivia
- Mature grizzly bears stand 3-4 feet tall at the shoulder, and can be 5-8 feet long from nose to tail.
- Grizzlies are capable of running at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
- A grizzly bear can live up to 25 years.
- Grizzly bears found in Canada and Alaska are larger than those found in the Rocky Mountains due to differences in their diet.
- Grizzly bears were once common in the Great Plains, but have been forced into the mountains, remote northern regions, and dense forests due to human encroachment.
- Grizzlies are protected by law and found on the list on endangered species in the continental U.S.
- Approximately 1,000 grizzlies are left in the continental U.S.
- There are estimated to be 30,000 grizzlies in Alaska, where they can be hunted.
- Grizzlies are omnivores, and much of their diet consists of berries, roots, grasses, fruit, nuts, and leaves. They also eat fish, rodents, and large animals, and will scavenge kills by other animals such as wolves and mountain lions.
- Grizzlies will often visit meadows after an avalanche or glacier slide in order to eat legumes that have accumulated there.
- Grizzlies can gain around 400 pounds preparing for dormancy in the winter.
- Grizzly cubs weigh 1 pound at birth, and are nursed to about 20 pounds before the mother emerges from dormancy in the spring.
- Grizzlies will often wait for a substantial snowstorm before entering their den.
- Grizzly bear dens are typically found on north-facing slopes at elevations above 5,000 feet.
- The grizzly bear appears on the state flag of California, although it has been extinct in that state since the early 1920's.
- Grizzly bears are important seed distributors in their habitats. Germination rates increase for seeds deposited in grizzly bear feces.
- The practice of digging for roots by the grizzly bear helps to stir up the soil, and areas that contain bear digs have greater plant diversity than areas without them.
- Grizzly bears can smell food miles away.
- A grizzly bear has 42 teeth.
- There's a common misconception that grizzly bears cannot climb - they just have more difficulty due to their size and the size of their long claws.
- When walking in the wilderness make your presence known. Talk loudly or clap your hands, it will let the bear know that you are around so they can steer clear of you.
- Grizzly bears normally avoid contact with people. Most grizzly attacks are the result of humans wandering into their territory and surprising the bears.
- Occasionally, grizzly bears will become accustomed to human activity and become 'problem bears.'
- They have one the lowest rates of reproduction out of all of the land mammals in North America.
Grizzly Bear Habitat
Grizzlies live on the continent of North America, primarily in Canada and Alaska, with a small amount still located in the continental United States. Bears can adapt to several different types of environments including woodlands, mountainous regions, forests, and meadows. Because of their diet, they prefer staying close to a water source.
What Do Grizzly Bears Eat?
Grizzly bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both flora and fauna. Although they are on the top of the predator list, their diet consists mostly of berries, roots, grasses, fruit, nuts, leaves, and fish. However, they do eat large animals such as moose and elk, as well as small rodents.
At times grizzlies will also scavenge kills by other animals such as wolves and mountain lions. During spawning season, when salmon are traveling upstream in large amounts, grizzly bears will consume the fish in large amounts to last them through the upcoming winter. Grizzlies can eat up to 90 pounds of food a day.
Grizzly Bears and People
Although normally peaceful and solitary, grizzly bears are known as the most dangerous species of bear in North America. Their size, position on the food chain, and their short temper create a dominant animal in the wild. They try to avoid contact with people and, if not hampered with, are quite passive. However, these bears are easily annoyed and will attack anything that seems to be a threat to them. Most grizzly attacks are the result of humans wandering into their territory and surprising the bears.
It is important to know what to do if you encounter a grizzly bear in the wild. Here is a list of things to remember.
- Do not run. This will only encourage the bear and they will think you are viable prey. Keep in mind that it is impossible to outrun a grizzly.
- Do not look at the bear in the eyes.
- Try to look as large as possible. Hold your arms or jacket above your head.
- Back away from the bear very slowly.
- If the bear starts charging, stand your ground. More times than not, the bear will turn around right as it gets to you.
- If the bear makes contact with you, curl up and play dead.
- Bear spray is a last resort, and should only be used when a bear is attacking.
Never provide a source of food for a bear. Bears that associate food with people may become a nuisance to your home, and tend to become more aggressive and dangerous.
Avoid attracting bears to your home by keeping trash bags in a can with a tight lid, remove bird feeders, and do not keep your pet’s food outside.
While grizzly bears are protected in the continental U.S., hunters can harvest them in both Alaska and Canada. Hunting season is held in the fall, and in some areas it is in the spring as well. In British Columbia alone, approximately 400 grizzlies are killed annually. If interested in hunting the grizzly, get permission by obtaining a license and tag. Harvesting a bear illegally can result in a fine, suspension or loss of hunting equipment, or even jail time.
In the above video, grizzly bears can be seen congregating at a stream for salmon.
Grizzly bears are considered the dominant predator in their range.
There are estimated to be 30,000 grizzlies in Alaska, where they can be hunted.
Younger grizzlies will often engage in play fighting with each other.
Mature grizzly bears stand 3-4 feet tall at the shoulder, and can be 5-8 feet long from nose to tail.
Grizzly bears typically have 1 to 3 cubs every 3 years, and the cubs will stay with the mother for between 2 to 3 years.
Grizzlies are typically solitary animals, but when there are abundant water supplies such as streams full of fish, they may congregate in an area.
Grizzly bears are protected from hunting in the continental U.S.
The grizzly bear appears on the state flag of California, although it has been extinct in that state since the early 1920's.
Because of their diet, grizzlies prefer staying close to a water source.
Grizzly bears are decent climbers.
Grizzly bears will fight over good fishing spots.
Do not run if you are spotted by a grizzly. This will only encourage the bear and they will think you are viable prey. Keep in mind that it is impossible to outrun a grizzly.