Brown bears have the widest range of any species of bear in the world. Their range covers northwest North America; across northern Europe and Asia from Scandinavia to eastern Russia; central Europe, including the Pyrenees, Alps, Abruzzi and Carpathian mountain ranges; and from Syria through the central Asian republics to the countries of the Tibetan plateau (China, Tibet and Nepal).
The brown bear is also the national animal for a number of states in North America, Europe and Asia.They are most often found in Alaska and might be seen in the northwestern corner of the United States. Some live near the coast, where salmon are abundant in the streams. Others live farther inland in brushy areas. These are the bears that are more commonly referred to as “grizzlies”.
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Brown bears are omnivores, which means they eat just about anything. They’ll eat deer, fish, small mammals, berries, honey, nuts and plants. They are powerful hunters and will prey on animals such as moose and mountain sheep.
Brown bears belong to the family Ursidae, which includes eight species. The Kodiak bear is a subspecies of brown bear found on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Kodiak bears are the largest of all brown bears and the second largest bear in the world.
Their thick fur and layer of fat insulate them against the extreme cold temperatures of their habitat. Brown bears have an excellent sense of smell. They have a big head, a long muzzle, and a large hump on their shoulder ( the hump is a mass of muscles that give the front legs extra strength). Like all bears, they are plantigrade (flat-footed). The front claws are up to 4.75 inches (12 cm), almost twice as long as the rear claws. Newborns weigh only about 1 pound.
Brown bears dig caves with their long claws. Although they sleep in dens (caves, hollow logs, or holes they dig) during the winter, they are not true hibernators and can be easily awakened. They usually mate in the early summer and give birth in the spring. The heavier the female, the more cubs she will usually have. Most often there are between one and four. Sometimes females are also known to adopt orphaned cubs. Cubs Stay with their mothers until they are two or three years old. The mother will teach the cubs everything they need to know in order to survive on their own in the wild.
Adult brown bears generally live alone, only spending short amounts of time with other bears during mating season. Males usually have a territory of around 100 square kilometers, but territories can overlap. Brown bears have few if any natural predators, aside from humans. They often avoid animals that they cannot prey upon. Brown bears have a life span of about 25 years in the wild.