How do you identify a Grizzly Bear from other bears?
Grizzly bears have concave faces, a distinctive hump on their shoulders, and long claws about two to four inches long. Both the hump and the claws are traits associated with a grizzly bear’s exceptional digging ability.
Grizzlies are often dark brown, but can vary from very light cream to black. The long guard hairs on their backs and shoulders frequently have white tips and give the bears a ‘grizzled’ appearance, hence the name ‘grizzly.’ The correct scientific name for the species is ‘brown bear,’ but only coastal bears in Alaska and Canada are referred to as such, while inland bears and those found in the lower 48 states are called grizzly bears.
What is the average life span of a Grizzly Bear?
Grizzly bears often live to be around 20 to 25 years of age Mating occurs from May through July with a peak in mid-June. Female grizzlies begin bearing young at 3 to 8 years of age, and the litter size varies from one to four cubs, with an average litter of two.
What are the living habitats of Grizzly Bears?
Grizzly bears are normally solitary animals. They are often seen together during feeding season, when food is abundant, but are often territorial and aggressive when food is scarce. Most grizzlies become more aggressive during the season just before hibernation. They are stocking up on food for the winter and increase body fat to keep themselves warm. Before winter, other animals are trying to find food for hibernation, so the grizzly is not only competing with other grizzlies, but also with other species, gearing up for harsh winters.
They have good eyesight and excellent senses of hearing and smell. Grizzly bears are active during the day and night, but will often alter their habits to avoid humans in areas of high human use.
4 Interesting facts about Grizzly Bears
- The first white explorer to see grizzly bears and to record them in his journal was Henry Kelsey. On 20 August 1691, Kelsey mentioned seeing ‘a great sort of bear’ near what is now The Pas, in west-central Manitoba. Henry Kelsey was an English fur trader and an explorer to venture first on the North American Plains. But it wasn’t till 1960s, more information about grizzlies were extensively studied and recorded.
- When a female grizzly bear leaves her mother, she often sets up her home range quite close to their mother’s home range. Males will typically range further, but may also remain close by.
- Admiralty Island, in southeast Alaska, was known to early natives as Xootsnoowú, meaning ‘fortress of bears’, and is home to the densest grizzly population in North America.
- A major food source for grizzlies are army cutworm moths. They can consume upto 20,000 of these moths which cluster on rocks, after feeding on nectar in the early mornings.