“The legs of this bear are somewhat longer than those of the black, as are it’s tallons and tusks in comparably larger and longer….it’s color is yellowish brown, the eyes small black and piercing.” –Meriwether Lewis on the grizzly bear.
Description: Grizzly Bears are large, brown, black, or whitish bears found in the mountains and alpine tundra of Canada and the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. More specifically, Grizzly Bears breed in Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, northern Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Washington state. The Grizzly’s home range normally includes inland forest or shrublands and can range from 10 to 400 miles in length. Grizzly Bears have distinctive shoulder “humps”, large muscle masses which enable their powerful claws. Females weigh up to 750 pounds, while males may reach 1,150 pounds. Larger males typically have more success in breeding with females. Females reach breeding age at 5 to 10 years, and produce cubs once every 3 to 5 years. Cubs stay with their mothers for between 1 1/2 to 4 years.
Diet: Grizzly Bears eat a wide variety of foods including berries, roots, plants, pine nuts, insects -particularly moths, small mammals, elk, mountain goats and young mammals. Grizzlies will congregate at mountain streams to eat large numbers of spawning salmon which they rip apart to feed on the heads. Coastal areas with large salmon populations often support larger populations of Grizzly Bears. Grizzly Bears have a well developed sense of smell and use it to locate carrion from miles away.
Behavior: Grizzly bears have become extremely wary of humans and will usually flee as soon as one is detected. They are generally active in the morning and evening, and use the day to rest in beds of vegetation. During the fall and summer months, however, when they are fattening up for hibernation, Grizzlies may remain active throughout the day. Grizzly Bears hibernate in tunnels they excavate or caves in rocks or mountains. Snow falling in winter months actually helps to insulate the den.
Grizzly Bears and Wolves in Yellowstone National Park