The brown bear is the world’s largest carnivore or meat eater. There are seven different bear species. The brown bear is the most widespread among them. It can be found in North America, Northern Europe, and Asia. It prefers tundras, meadows, woodlands, and forests.
There are many subspecies of brown bears. The grizzly bear, Kodiak bear, Alaskan bear, and Euroasia brown bear are some. As its name suggests, the brown bear is usually coated in dark brown fur. However, some subspecies can vary from brown, to blonde, to black.
Like all bears, the brown bear has a wide body, thick powerful legs, a large head and a small tail. The brown bear also has distinct features that set it apart from other bear species: a hump of muscle on its back and long claws that do not retract. It uses these claws to dig, tear apart food, or climb.
A brown bear’s body can be five to nine feet (1.5-2.8 m) long. It weighs anywhere between 80 to 550 pounds (175-1,213 kg). Size varies depending on habitat and diet, and also gender. While males and females tend to be the same length, the male brown bear usually weighs twice that of the female.
The brown bear can stand upright on its hind legs like a human. It does this to get a better view of its surroundings, or when threatened. Standing, the brown bear towers an astonishing eight to 11 feet (2.4-3.5 m) off the ground.
While it can survive on just plants, the brown bear will eat meat if it is widely available. The brown bear feeds on small mammals, fish, insects, and plants. One of the brown bear’s favorite foods is salmon. During salmon spawning season, millions of salmon swim upstream to mate. The brown bear will wait at a waterfall or rapid where salmon typically jump out of the water. The brown bear will snatch a jumping salmon and eat it for dinner.
The lifespan of a brown bear is about 25 years. Those brown bear subspecies who live in cool climates sleep through every winter. For example, most grizzly bears, especially mother grizzlies with cubs, sleep all winter. This is called hibernating.
A hibernating brown bear eats a tremendous amount of food from spring to fall. It overeats in order to put on excess weight ahead of hibernation. Those brown bear subspecies who live in temperate climates, however, are active year-round.
The scientific name for the brown bear is Ursus arctos.