Brown bear

Species profile

Name: the brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a large species of bear found across northern Europe, Asia, and America. In North America, they are known as grizzly bears.

Appearance: brown bears have long, thick fur with manes at the back of their necks. Despite the name, their fur is often not fully brown. In India, it can be reddish with silver-tips, while in China it can be a yellowish-brown. The grizzly bears of North America can range from almost black to almost white!

Size: brown bears are one of the largest carnivores on land, second only to polar bears. Their size can vary significantly across populations, sexes, and over time as they fatten up each year for winter hibernation. They usually reach around 1.4 to 2.8 metres long and weigh 180 to 360 kg.

Diet: brown bears are one of the most omnivorous animals in the world and have been recorded eating the greatest variety of foods of any bear. Despite their reputation, most brown bears are not highly carnivorous and around 90% of their diet comes from plants, vegetables, fruits, and mushrooms. Although this varies significantly over time and across populations.

Did you know: brown bears have one of the largest brains of any carnivore and have been found using tools such as using barnacle-covered rocks to scratch their backs! Their intelligence, size, and power mean they have played a large part in the imagination and cultural lives of humans for thousands of years. Being used in early fairy tales such as Goldilocks, featuring on flags and coats of arms around the world, and more recently being used as mascots, names, and logos for a whole range of sports teams. 

Location: there are around 200,000 brown bears left in the world. The largest populations are in Russia with 120,000, the United States with 33,000, and Canada with around 25,000. They are also found in smaller populations throughout northern Europe and Asia.

Where to see brown bears

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see brown bears in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Tatra Mountains
very good

Photo credit: strichpunkt under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay

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