Species: U. arctos
Subspecies: U. a. horribilis
Common Names: Grizzly Bear, North American Brown Bear
Grizzlies are omnivores, eating both plants and animals. They are able to eat large animals including numerous deer species (elk, moose, reindeer, white-tailed deer), bighorn sheep, bison, and occasionally even black bears. However, they rarely prey upon healthy adults, often targeting younger or weaker individuals.
They also eat fish such as salmon and trout, and small mammals including many species of rodents. Nuts, tubers, grasses and berries are also a part of the grizzly diet.
Grizzly bears hibernate for around half the year, entering adormant state where they stay in dens and do not eat or drink. They build uplarge fat reserves before entering hibernation, which their body feeds off whilethey rest.
Mother grizzlies usually give birth to between one and four cubs at a time. They are very protective of their cubs and are known to attack if they feel their young are being threatened. The mother will care for her cubs for up to two years before they are ready to go out and live on their own.
Grizzly bears are large bears, able to weigh over 850 pounds and measuring nearly eight feet in length.
Their fur coloration ranges from light brown to almost black. They differ from black bears, which can be similar in coloration, in a number of ways. Grizzlies have a large shoulder hump of muscle, a wider face, and a rump that is lower than its shoulders, as opposed to the black bear’s rump which is higher than its shoulders.
The claws of grizzly bears are quite large, measuring up to four inches long.
The term “grizzly bear” refers mainly to the most widespread type of North American brown bear subspecies, though it is also used to describe other North American brown bears, such as the Kodiak bear and peninsular brown bear.
Grizzly bears once ranged from Canada to Mexico, though today they are now mostly restricted to Alaska, western Canada, and a few spots in the contiguous United States in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming.
The word “grizzly” originated from a term coined by the explorers Lewis and Clark, who described the bear as “grisley”. This was interpreted to mean “grizzled” (referring to the gray tips of the bear’s fur) or “grisly” meaning scary and fearsome, referring to the bear’s temperament.