Grizzly Bear - The Animals of British Columbia, Canada - Grizzly Bears of BC


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide


Grizzly Bear
Ursus arctos


Description - Grizzly Bears reach weights of 300-1500 pounds. The coat color ranges from shades of blond, brown, black or a combination of these; the long outer guard hairs are often tipped with white or silver giving it a grizzled appearance hence the name. The grizzly has a large hump over the shoulders which is a muscle mass used to power the forelimbs in digging. The head is large and round with a concave facial profile. In spite of their mass size this bear runs at speeds of up to 35 mph.

Distribution - Once native to Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, it is now in some areas extinct or had its numbers greatly reduced. In BC Grizzly Bears inhabit most of the province except Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands and the lower mainland. Nearly half of Canada's grizzly population - about 13 000 - lives in this province. They prefer semi-open country usually in mountainous areas.

Biology - The Grizzly Bear is primarily nocturnal and in the winter puts on up to 400 pounds of fat, becoming very lethargic. Although they are not true hibernators and can be woken easily, they like to den up in a protected spot, such as a cave, crevice or hollow log during the winter months. Being omnivores, they feed on a variety of plants and berries including roots or sprouts and fungi as well as fish, insects and small mammals. Normally a solitary animal, the grizzly congregates alongside streams and rivers during the salmon spawn. Every other year females produce 1-4 young which are the size of rats, weighing only 1 pound.

 

Grizzly Bear Tracks

Tracks - The prints of the grizzly bear are characterized by an oval pad with five toes along the wider top of the pad on the hind feet. The front feet have a smaller heel pad and a dew claw which may be present in the print. Claw marks over twice as long as the toe pads are usually evident.

Straddle: 32 - 38 cm (12.8 - 15.2 in)
Stride: 30 - 45 cm (12 - 18 in)
Track:

Front - 11 cm (4.4 in) long
10 cm (4 in) wide
Rear - 18 cm (7.2 in) long
9 cm (3.6 in) wide

 


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Grizzly Bear - The Animals of British Columbia, Canada - Grizzly Bears of BC