Grizzly Bears

This report you are about to read is about the threatened species of grizzly
bears. Grizzly bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and meat.

However, they come from the order of Carnivora, meaning they have inherited the
meat-eaters unspecialized, tubelike gut. Read on to help you learn more about
grizzlies and start thinking of what you can do to help this near extinction
species. By the way, this report was by Cynthia Chan. Grizzly bears are large
brown bears with coarse, silver-tipped fur. They have large brown humps over
their shoulder that most people find disgusting. Grizzliesí claws can grow to

5 inches long. Their front claws are longer than their back claws. Grizzlies
walk with their feet flat on the ground. You rarely see a grizzly walking while
standing up. An adult grizzly may reach up to 8 feet in length. An average adult
grizzly weighs about 850 pounds. An exceptionally large male grizzly may weigh
up to 1200 pounds or more than 6 huge men. Itís hard to believe that grizzly
cubs can be so small that they can fit into cupped hands. Grizzlies may look
lumpy and clumsy but they are actually among the most strongest and fastest
creatures on earth. They can reach speeds of 35-40 mph. and, despite itís
weight, could outrun the fastest man on earth. When grizzlies first come out of
their winter dens, they are the thinnest theyíll be the whole year because
they havenít eaten in months. Their first meal after their winter hibernation
would probably be a carcass of a moose or caribou that didnít survive the
winter. Grizzlies have to eat a lot in order to survive the winter when they
hibernate. Near the sea, grizzlies may find a beached whale or a dead sea lion
or walrus. When the earth turns green they eat roots and sedges. Sedges are
grasses that are grown in wetlands. They are important because they grow rapidly
in spring and they are rich in protein. Grizzlies also eat nuts, insects, salmon
and trout, and small mammals like squirrels. They may eat about 400 squirrels a
year. Grizzlies can smell between male and female fish. They like female fish
better because of itís delicious eggs. During the salmon season, a grizzly may
capture 10 salmon and can afford to let some go. Though when salmon are rare,
they will hungrily devour everyone they catch. Sometimes they eat only the head
and eggs of a fish and disgard the rest. However, the rest donít go to waste
because gulls swarm nearby ready to grab the leftovers. After the salmon run,
grizzlies start on berries like blueberries, crowberries, and cranberries.

However, they enjoy soapberries best. A bear may consume 200,000 berries in a
day. If the berry crops fail, grizzlies more likely to seek out human foods. In
the fall, a grizzlyís droppings may be the berries they have eaten before. The

North American bear, the grizzly bear, is found in Alaska, western Canada, and
around the Rocky Mountains. In Alaska, the temperature may fall to 50 degrees
below 0 in midwinter. Though during that time grizzlies are asleep in an
underground den covered by a blanket of snow while they hibernate. For the
matter of safety, about 200 grizzlies are living in Yellowstone National Park
and around 500 to 600 are living in Glacier National Park. Grizzly Bears prefer
rugged mountains and forests undisturbed by human enroachment. They also live in
arctic wilderness areas. Grizzlies need a lot of space. Large landscapes should
be reserved for them if wished that the species survive. However, they donít
require untouched areas. If they did, there would be much fewer left. Though
they do roam free in the scraps of wilderness they have left. Grizzlies are both
predator and prey. They are predators to squirrels, fish, caribou, wolves, Dall
sheep, moose, and other small animals. They are prey to moose, caribou, and
larger animals. So because of this, mother grizzlies fiercely guard her cubs.

Grizzlies are true hibernators because they can go for 3 to 5 months without
food. Even as long as 7 months in northern Alaska. They often dig dens on the
side of a slope where snow collects, providing good insulation. Cubs are born in
midwinter in litters of 1 to 4 depending on the local food supply. Twins are
probably most common overall. Mother grizzlies can reproduce until almost 30
years of age. Grizzlies can live up to 30 years of age. Though few survive
beyond the age of 20. At birth, grizzly cubs are helpless and really small, but
they grow fast, nourished by their motherís milk. They are robust and playful
by the time warm weather arrives for their first time. Grizzly cubs are very
curious. That is characteristic they will retain in large measure throughout
their lives. Cubs focus on their mother. By watching and imatating her, they
will soon learn the business of being a bear. By a cubís second year, they
wade in to fish for themselves. Though they are rarely successful the first
time. Two thirds of cubs die their first year. Although there is the possibility
that some are lost to starvation or disease, marauding males are the only proven
cause to the death of cubs. Grizzlies mate in the spring and summer time in
between May and July. When they first mate, females donít become pregnant
imediately. Males are thought to find their mate by smell from olfactory clues
like scent left from rubbing posts. Grizzlies avoid contact with other bears
until fishing season when it brings them shoulder to shoulder along streams.

When 2 bears that have fought before meet again, the loser gives up its place to
the winner to avoid another fight. Grizzlies are very strong. In a fight with
another bear, they can grab their opponents teeth and throw him to the ground.

Grizzlies do kill people, but visitors to mountain parks are more likely to be
lightning than killed by a grizzly. Though they still can be very dangerous when
they are teased or threatened in some way.