Brown Bear Habitat, Facts

 
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Brown Bears Facts


The Brown Bear is a master of the belly-flop...One of the more widespread fishing techniques used by bears. From a vantage point close to, or in, the water, the brown bear waits until it spots a fish struggling upstream and then dives, pinning the salmon against the rocky river bottom with its paws or mouth. One naturalist observed a bear catch two salmon in 15 minutes with only six dives.



Brown Bear Facts - Ursus arctos

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) is the most widespread member of the bear family, which is found throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Scientifically, more is known about the brown bear than about any of the other bear species apart from the American black bear.

Despite its name, the brown bear ranges in color from black to yellow, reddish and even beige. In some areas, brown bears grow as large as polar bears while in other locations they are less than half that size.

Because of these differences in size and colour people once believed that there were many different species, not just the one. In the northern hemisphere the brown bear was long feared, admired and even worshipped as the king of beasts, taking a special place in folk tales.

Subspecies of the Brown Bear are:

  • Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
  • Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi)
  • European Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos )
  • Siberian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos beringianus)
  • Atlas Bear (Ursus arctos crowtheri)
  • Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis)
  • Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus)
  • Carpathian Bear (Ursus arctos formicarius)
  • Marsican Bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus)
  • Mexican Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos nelsoni)
  • Tibetan Blue Bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus)
  • Syrian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos syriacus)
  • Hokkaido Brown Bear (Ursus arctos yesoensis)


Brown Bear Habitat

Few brown bears remain in the forests of Europe that were once their main habitat in the continent. Those living in the remote Pyrenees or Alps may weight 91 kilograms or less, though some Scandinavian and Russian bears weight more than 340 kilograms.

They were once widespread across Europe, but today they survive in reasonable numbers only in the forests of Scandinavia, Romania, Russia and former Yugoslavia, while a few still live in Spain, the Pyrenees and the Abruzzi mountains of Italy.

The European brown bear is generally small, weighing between 45-120kg, and feeds on a wide range of plants and small animals. Unlike in North America, there are very few dangerous encounters between people and brown bears in Europe. The bears appear to have learned to keep well away from humans.

Farther east across the Pacific in the western United States, Canada and Alaska, the brown bear is known as the grizzly (because the white-tipped hairs of many animals give it a frosted or grizzled appearance), and more properly as Ursus arctos horribilis.

The adult male grizzly can reach a weight of 410 kilograms or more. Kodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi), the largest of the bear family, may reach up to 680 kilogram.

Brown bears have no natural enemies and because they can easily find food on their own, they have no need for the benefits of group living.


Brown Bear Characteristic

The brown bears have a large bump of muscles above their shoulders which gives the force to the forelimbs than enables them to dig. Their heads are large and round with a concave facial profile.


Upright, the brown bear reaches a height of 1.5 to 3 meters. Despite their size and bulk, they can reach speeds of up to 56 km/h. The brown bear has digitigrade front feet, where they walk on their front toes (or fingers), and plantigrade rear feet, where they walk on the soles of their feet like humans.

The largest populations of brown bear are in Russia, with 120.000 bears, in the United States with 32.500 bears and Canada with 21.750 bears. Small populations of brown bears are found in Europe, including Spain, former Yugoslavia and European Russia. There are around 14.000 brown bear in Europe outside of zoos, separated into ten distinct populations. 95% of the brown bears living in the United States are in Alaska.

Without the program of reinforcement (set up in 1996), the brown bear was condemned to probable extinction in the wild. The program of European reinforcement succeeded in increasing the population with about fifteen individuals in 2005.

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Brown Bear Pictures

Brown Bear Mother and Cubs
Newborn brown bear cubs (usually born in January of February with usually from one to four in number but normally two) are approximately 23 to 28 centimeters long and weigh 340 to 680 gram.


They are suckled by the mother in her winter den until April or May, then emerge to follow her in search of food. The cubs normally stay with her for one or more years, until the female is ready to mate again and raise another brood. Their eyes are closed and they appear naked, although they are actually covered with short grey hair. Young animals are characterized by a roundish head, which takes the elongated form of the adult head as they grow, a process, which can extend over their whole life.

A young brown bear - no longer protected by its mother tries to elude another bear by diving into the water to protect its catch. Weaned by the age of two and a half, cubs are then on their own, though it will be another half year before female cubs reach sexual maturity and another year and a half for males. If their mother mates again they may leave her partly out of fear of her new suitor, since cub-killing is not at all uncommon.

The father has nothing to do with the cubs and a female bear will fiercely defend her cubs from any enemies. Cubs can be killed by predators such as wolves and by other bears who want to mate with the mother. Cubs learn everything from their mothers including the type of food to eat, where and how to make their dens, behaviour with other bears and also survival skills. Cubs that are raised in captivity can never survive in the wild because they have not learned these essential skills


Brown Bear Family
A sow, carrying a big salmon (pictured below), and cubs leave the water of a large river. The cubs may or may not be her own; familial mix-ups are common during this annual gathering, for though sows can distinguish their own cubs, the cubs often seem unable to recognize their mothers.

Most sows, however, will feed and even nurse an alien cub until its mother comes to claim it. Should the cub go unclaimed, it stays with its new mother and is treated as one of the family.

Brown Bear Facts
PolarBear
  • Name: Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Subclass: Theria
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Ursidae
  • Age at Maturity: 8 to 10 years males, 4.5 to 7 years females
  • Length of life: 20 to 25 years in the wild
  • Size: Varies considerably between populations
  • Weight: 135 to 390 kg males
    95 to 205 kg females
  • Habitat: A wide range from subalpine mountain, areas, tundra and dense forest
  • Diet: Vegatation - grasses, sedges, bubls, insects, fish, small mammals, rots and in some areas moose, caribou and elk.
  • Gestation: 6 to 9 months
  • Cubs: 1 to 2 cubs and occasionally as many as four cubs
  • SubFamily: Ursinae
  • Genus: Ursus
  • Brown Bear Predators: Human and other bears
  • Distribution: Localized populations in Europe, Japan, northern Asia, western Canada, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington

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