(Ursus arctos) GRIZZLY BEAR, BROWN BEAR
How large are Jasper Alberta's Grizzly Bears?
- Mass: 100 to 780 kg
Length: to 2.4 m (8 feet)
- Wildlife living area: tundra, taiga, temperate forest & rainforest
Range: Ursus arctos(Grizzly Bears) range in small numbers in Alaska and western Canada and possibly northern Mexico. Also in eastern Siberia and Hokkaido, and from western Europe and Palestine to the Himalayan region, and possibly the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa.
- Grizzly bears have been long considered the most dangerous animal in North America, although real danger of attack from a Grizzly Bear is often exagerated. In general, brown bears attempt to avoid human contact and will not attack unless startled at close quarters with young or engrossed in a search for food. They are very unpredictable in temperment, however, and often exhibit impulsive and petulant behavior.
- Many people in Jasper have had encounters with Grizzly bears and all would tell you that there was instictual fear present, but all would also tell you that their Grizzly encounter left them with more of a peaceful understanding. Although equipped to kill humans very easily, the Grizzly bear is observed as wanting space when around us, showing an obvious interest in either us or him not being present to an encounter. As humans are the intruders here, it would be expected of us to retreat, but often it is the Grizzly bear that does so.
Where do Grizzly Bears Live?
Cute Grizzly Cubs Learning to Climb
These two Cute Grizzly Cubs of the Year are seen here working on their tree climbing skills.
Grizzly Cubs of the Year Playing and Exploring Canada's Rockies
Grizzly Bear Cubs of the Year Playing and Exploring Canada's Rockies in 2020. These two Grizzly cubs are so entertaining to watch while they Play. Cubs of the year mainly focus on three things.. Mother's milk, exploring/learning, and Play!
Grizzly Mum and her Tiny New Explorers
A Favorite local Grizzly Mum with her New Cubs as they begin to explore their surroundings just out of hibernation.
Rare Moments with an Amazing Grizzly Bear Family
This Grizzly Bear Family with an incredible temperament is well loved in this area of Canada's Rockies. Just about to embark on Grizzly Bear mating season, Mum will have to deal with more Boars entering the area, threatening the safety of her cubs. One Boar has already been pursuing this Family over the last several days. We were very lucky to have some rare moments with this amazing Grizzly Family before they may have to disappear as mating season adjusts the mood.
Big Grizzly Cubs as Newborns and Leaving Mum Today
A Rare occurrence.. Grizzly Bear Cubs from Newborns to Sub-Adults. It's very rare for Grizzly Bear Cubs to make it this far, and especially 3 Siblings together. They just left their Mother a short time ago and are finding their space together. Here the Grown Cubs become separated, but never venture far as we witness them reunite late the next evening. Their exceptional noses prove to be their most powerful tool in keeping together. As a Unit, these Grizzly Bear Cubs stand a much better chance of survival.
Grizzly Bear Family as Evening Approaches
As evening approaches, these Grizzly Bear Cubs of the Year gradually slow down and become more affectionate with each other and Mum. These are typical signs near feeding and bedding down times for Grizzly families that are not stressed in nature.
Grizzly Bears Pairing Up during Mating Season
Identifying Grizzly Bear Mothers in care of Cubs of the Year
Grizzly Bear Mum with very Healthy Newborn Cub First Appears
Grizzly Bear Mum tends to her nutritional needs while the healthiest newborn Bear Cub(cub of the year) we have seen makes a first appearance. Unfortunately, this grizzly cub does not have a sibling to play and "practice" with, but it shows the benefits of the food advantage a single cub has. This grizzly bear cub is not only very well fed, but seems to be very relaxed close to Mum.
Big Grizzly Mum After Losing her Cub
This was the first encounter with this big Grizzly Bear Sow after she lost her cub of the year. It was tough to find out as the cub appeared to be the biggest and healthiest cub of the year we have ever seen. Many are looking forward to seeing this Grizzly Mum have offspring again next year as she is so healthy herself.
30,000 Berries a Day Diet - Grizzly Bear
This Grizzly may be able to pick and eat 30,000 Berries a Day. Grizzly Bears' sensitive, mobile lips gather berries quickly and swallow them whole. The seeds then pass through their digestive tract unbroken and able to germinate, spreading the seeds of their favorite berries all over their home ranges. Notice how the bushes stay completely intact for future growth. Berry season has become an important period of weight gain for Grizzlies in the Canadian Rockies that starts in July.
Big Grizzly Family Hunting for Elk Babies
We initially thought this was a well known family, but it turned out to be a very gifted muscular Mum and Cubs(1 year older than the cubs we knew) that we had not previously witnessed. At this particular time, this Grizzly family was focused on the calories from Elk babies. This is a much different behavior than Grizzlies munching on dandelions or grass and roots. We knew there was at least two Elk babies that they missed here, which shows some incredible luck and deficiencies. Apparently, Grizzly bears have a nose that is 7 times more effective that a bloodhound. If true, the Elk babies they passed by were truly of no scent.
Jasper Back Country Grizzly Bear Family
Grizzly Bears Eating Lush Vegetation
A lot of rain in the Rockies(July 2019) has ignited the landscape with lush vegetation. Grizzly Bears may completely avoid areas that humans frequent, leaving many berries uneaten. Even though less energy-rich, it is more reliable for Bears to feed on insects and vegetation, however, a mostly vegetarian diet does require a very efficient process of consumption.
A Grizzly Bear focused on insects, even with an abundant Berry crop just as accessible in Jasper.
Young Adult Grizzly Bear in Jasper's Rockies among 2019's lush vegetation.
16 month Old Grizzly Cub Siblings Wrestling in Jasper Alberta
Large Male Grizzly Bear Emerging from Hibernation Digging for Nutrients 2018
Grizzly Bear Mother with Cubs of the Year
Grizzly Bear Cubs Clowning Around and Play Fighting
Grizzly Mother and Cubs feeding on an Elk Carcass in Athabasca River - Jasper, Canada Rockies
Grizzly Bear in Jasper National Park, Alberta; Just Out of Hibernation
Full of Berries, Satiated Grizzly Heads North for Hibernation
We don't think we have seen this Grizzly before, but she was certainly not shy about her travel, as you can see. Luckily, she didn't spend too much time near the highway and took a turn North.. possibly to a Canadian Rockies area that is very isolated to prep for her Hibernation. It's nice to see a Big Belly on a Bear this time of Year.
Jasper's Grizzly Bears
Front paw track ranges from 5 to 7 inches in length (13 - 18 cm); rear track is from 10 to 12 inches in length (25 - 30 cm). Tracks can be differentiated from Black Bear by evidence of larger claw markings in the Grizzly Bear print.
Grizzly or Brown Bear Tracks.
Human - Grizzly Bear ConflictsHuman Fatalities from Bear Attacks in North America >>
Grizzly Bear / Brown Bear / Kodiak Bear Facts
Taxonomy: While there has been much confusion about the taxonomy of brown bears (Ursus arctos), taxonomists agree there are at least two subspecies in North America -- the grizzly bear (U. a. horribilis) and the Kodiak bear (U. a. middendorffi). The Kodiak bear has lived separately on Kodiak, Afognak, and Shuyak Islands in southwestern Alaska for thousands of years with no interbreeding with other populations. However, there is no such geographic demarcation between the coastal U. a. gyas and the inland U. a. horribilis. There is a continuum of difference between the larger coastal brown bears and the interior individuals that are generally called grizzly bears.
Simply separating the Bears' names are that Coastal brown bears have a greater amount of animal protein in their diet, achieve larger size, and have slight differences in coloration.
Home Ranges: Grizzly bears can be found in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories; and the US states of Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, and Montana. In general Bears' home rangea are between 10 and 380 square miles. A grizzly bear's home range is basically inland - away from major bodies of water. In most cases, a grizzly bear's home range includes an area of forested land or shrub cover, which is used mostly for escape.
Gathering and Eating Food: Grizzly bears feed on berries (blueberries, bearberries, buffalo berries, etc.), roots, bulbs of plants, ground dwelling rodents, and whitebark pine nuts. Sometimes grizzlies will locate a cache of these nuts that a ground squirrel has stored for the winter. With their excellent sense of smell, grizzlies can locate carrion from miles away and will readily feed on it. These easy meals are fiercely protected by any Bear.
Grizzlies may also prey on moose, elk, mountain goats and mountain sheep. During the spring months, grizzlies also feed on the calves of these animals.
Another major food source for grizzlies are cutworm moths. During the summer months in the Yellowstone area, these moths congregate on sub-alpine plants located above the timberline at elevations higher than 10,000 feet. During the early morning hours these moths drink nectar and then during the day they cluster on the surrounding rocks. Grizzlies from all around climb to these high elevations to consume 10,000 to 20,000 of these moths a day. At times like this, when food is abundant, numerous grizzlies will congregate and feed together. Once the food source is depleted, the grizzlies will go their separate ways in search of other food.
Kodiak bears generally rely on the same types of food as grizzlies, with one addition. Living in coastal areas provides these bears with a rich supply of protein. These coastal areas are so rich in salmon that a 40% higher density of brown bears can be supported in those locations.
Face: Brown bears have a concave or dish-shaped face.
Paws: Grizzly bear paws are black or brownish in color with wrinkled skin on the pads.
Shoulder Hump: Brown bears have a distinguishing shoulder hump. This hump is actually a mass of muscle, which enables brown bears to dig and use their paws as a striking force. This hump may have evolved as Grizzly Bears focused more on digging for roots; the muscle mass being an adaptation through natural selection.
Claws: Brown bear claws are long and curved, ranging in color from yellow to brown. In rare cases grizzlies have been observed with white claws. These claws are used to dig up roots and bulbs of plants as well as to excavate den sites. While extremely strong, Grizzly claws are not adapted well for tree climbing.
Tracks: The toes fall close together and nearly in a straight line in a brown bear track. The toe pads are generally touching each other with the smallest toe on the inside of the track. Impressions from the fore claws are usually found far in front of the toes because the claws are twice as long as the toe pads. The front tracks of brown bears measure 6-8 inches long (excluding the Bear's heel) and 7-9 inches wide. Hind tracks measure 12-16 inches long and 8 to 10.5 inches wide.
Coloration: Grizzlies range in color from white, blonde, brown, black and shades there of. The tips of most fur are lighter in color giving them that "grizzled" effect.
Growth and Development: Brown bears can weigh 150-200 pounds at the end of their first year of life. They reach sexual maturity between 4 and 5 years and are considered fully grown by 8 to 10 years of age.
Weight: Females reach their maximum weight of 270 to 770 pounds in about 8 years. Males reach their maximum weight of 330 to 1200 pounds in 12 years. The heavier a female is, the better are her chances of having cubs. The heavier a male is the better chance he has of successfully breeding with a female. Males are 20% to 200% as heavy as females.
Kodiak bears often grow to 10 feet long and weigh well over 1,000 lbs.
Surviving in the Wild: In general, Grizzly bears will flee as soon as they detect humans. Finding food, finding mates, and avoiding being preyed upon govern a brown bear's life.
Most brown bears are active during the morning and early evening hours. During the daytime they rest in day beds, often constructed in dense cover to escape the heat. During the late summer and fall months, when they are fattening up for the long months of hibernation, brown bears may be active throughout the day. As food items become scarce, the brown bear's territory increases. Within their home range, brown bears use a wide variety of habitats. Brown bears travel from alpine food sources to estuaries, to berry patches, to salmon spawning sites - visiting each site when its particular food source is available.
Dens: Dens must provide protection and security during the winter months. Brown bears can excavate a den but often use rock caves and hollow trees. Dens are dug in dry, stable soil where winter temperatures will remain above freezing. Usually the den site terrain is sloping. As snow falls it covers and helps to insulate the den. Generally the den is just large enough to accommodate the bear. The entrance to the den leads to a tunnel that slopes downward to the actual sleeping chamber. This sloping tunnel allows stale air to escape. Most dens are used only once. Occasionally a den built in unstable ground will collapse.
Hibernation: Grizzly Bears usually hibernate by October lightly, and enter a deeper sleep in November. By March, their metabolism begins to rise with most Bears leaving their dens in April. Males have more energy, with females remaining a little more lethargic until May.
Grizzly Bear Mating: Females generally are able to reproduce between 4.5 and 10 years of age. The number of cubs in a litter depends upon the female's health and/or body weight. Mating occurs between early May and mid July with cubs born between the end of January and early March. Usually a female brown bear reproduces once every 3 to 5 years. Since only 1 in 3 females breed in a given year, males must range widely in order to find a mate. A mother brown bear will remain with her young for 1.5 to 3.5 years.