Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos
New Hampshire Public Television
The grizzly bear is also known as the brown bear. It has fur that ranges from a cream or silver color to an almost black color. Some grizzly bear's fur is tipped in a lighter color than the rest of its fur. This gives the fur a grizzled look and is how the bear got its name. The grizzly bear has a slight hump above its shoulder and can weigh between 350-1500 pounds.
The grizzly bear's range circles the arctic. It can be found from the Arctic coast down into the central parts of Europe and Asia. In North America, it can be found in Alaska and western Canada. The grizzly bear was once common west of the Mississippi but its population dropped as the west was settled. There are still some populations in scattered areas of the western United States. The grizzly bear is a threatened species in the lower 48 states. There are currently about 1,200 grizzly bears in the lower 48 states and about 31,700 grizzly bears in Alaska.
The grizzly bear lives along rivers and coastal areas, mountain meadows and in the tundra. In parts of Europe and Asia, the grizzly can be found in forests and mountain woodlands.
The grizzly bear is omnivorous. It eats berries, roots, fungi, grasses, fish, carrion, small mammals and insects. It is very good at catching fish and it often uses its long claws to dig insects out of rotting logs and small mammals out of their burrows. Some grizzly bears in the Canadian Rockies hunt larger animals like moose, elk and goats.
Mating season runs from May to early July. It takes from 180-266 days for cubs to be born. Cubs are usually born between January and March. The female usually has two cubs. The cubs are blind and furless and weigh a pound when they are born. The cubs are weaned when they are about five months old, but they usually remain with their mother for two to three years. Grizzly bear cubs can climb trees until they are about a year old.
The grizzly bear usually forages for food in the early morning and evening and rests during the day. A grizzly bear's territory can range between 70 and 400 square miles! More than one bear may share the same territory, although they will sometimes fight over a good fishing spot!
The grizzly bear digs a den under rocks or in the hollow of a tree. It may also make its den in a cave or crevice. The grizzly bear goes into its den between October and December and stays there until the early spring. It has a protective layer of fat that allows it to stay in its den while the weather is cold. It does not really hibernate and can easily be woken up in the winter.