Everything you ever wanted to
know about grizzly bears
Ursus Arctos Horribilis
the United States, grizzly
bears are found in
and Montana. Although
California displays a grizzly bear on their flag, they are no longer
found there. The word grizzly means grayish, and suggests
awfulness. Both connotations are appropriate to the grizzly
bear. The coat of the grizzly changes in color from off-white to
black depending on the time of the year and the location. It
is estimated that fewer than 150,000 remain in North America.
Glacier National Park boasts one of the highest densities of
grizzlies. They can be found in open meadows, river valleys
and mountain forests. They are active day or night, but mostly
in the mornings and evenings. A female will give birth to a litter of 1 to 4 cubs which
are typically born between January and March. The cubs are hairless and
helpless, and stay with mom for 2.5 - 4.5 years. Siblings will group
together for 1 - 2 years after leaving their mother.
Grizzlies are powerfully built with a large head and typically
they have a perceptible hump above the shoulders. This hump is one
of the most prominent features that make it possible to distinguish
grizzlies from black bears. A male grizzly weighs
between 300 and 850 pounds while the female averages 200 - 450 pounds, and
their approximate life span is 20 years. Their color varies from white to
blond to brown to black. A male will range 285 square miles while a
female can forage a 450 square mile area and their diet shifts with the
seasons. Their dens are used often, and the same den is used each year.
Grizzlies can be mistaken for black bears, but there
are a number of distinguishing characteristics. Grizzly bears have
lengthy claws and less fur between their toes so that the pads seem
joined together. If you look closely, a grizzly bear's
profile is distinctive from that of his relative the black bear. The head of a
grizzly bear is more flat than that of a black bear with a shorter
muzzle. The grizzlies' ears are shorter
and rounder, and black bears
will often climb trees, but adult grizzlies seldom climb.
or black gear, can you tell what flavor of bear this is in the
Many people think of grizzlies as fierce
carnivores, but they are actually
As far as their diet is concerned, they're more like humans than
other carnivores. An omnivore eats other animals and plants
(but all plants as we can't digest some grains or plants that don't
produce fruit). A grizzly will hunt for (or scavenge for dead
meat [carrion]), and eat
and other omnivores. Grizzles
have a hump between their shoulders that is composed of muscle,
which permits them to be such strong diggers, which is how they
spend the majority of their foraging time.
Got a bear problem? If you share your piece
of this planet with bears, grizzlies or black bears, you already know
that it is imperative to manage your garbage properly. Bears
are attracted to the scent and will frequent a trash dump. If
they are successful in finding food, they will return daily and
become less afraid of humans, and that isn't good. When bears
are not afraid of humans, people and bears get hurt. People
mistake their visitors as friendly and take chances getting close to
the bears, which eventually results in someone getting mauled,
bitten or worse. The bears are usually captured and returned
to the wild, sometimes 50 miles away from the encounter. If
they return, they are usually destroyed. For this reason, it
is in everyone's interest to make your garbage unavailable to bears.
If you have trash containers, the best way to do this is keep them
inside or safeguard them with a bear-proof fence.
here to see how we built an inexpensive bear-proof fence.
they roam... In the NW United States, grizzly bears roam the Yellowstone and Glacier Park
areas of Montana and western Wyoming. Whereas black bears are
found throughout North American forests and many of the swamps.
Believe it or not, the Florida Everglades boasts one of the highest
populations of black bears in America. Learn what to do if you
encounter a grizzly in the wild...