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Brown Bear

Brown Bear

Brown Bear Range Map (N America, Europe & Asia)
Brown Bear Range Map
(N America, Europe & Asia)

Kodiak Bear
Kodiak Bear

Eurasian Brown Bear
Eurasian Brown Bear

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

Syrian Brown Bear
Syrian Brown Bear
Latin Name Ursus arctos
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location N America, Europe & Asia
Colour Brown
Length 2 - 3 m (6.5 - 9.75 ft)
Tail 5 - 20 cms (2 - 8 inches)
Weight 100 - 1,000 Kgs (220 - 2,200 lbs)
Life Expectancy

20 - 30 Yrs (Wild)
Up to 50 Yrs (in Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Brown Bears are the second largest species of bear, only the polar bear is larger. They have a body length between 2 and 3 m (6.5 - 9.75 ft), a tail length between 5 and 20 cms (2 - 8 inches) and they weigh between 100 and 1,000 kgs (220 - 2,200 lbs). Males can be up to 50% larger than females.

Their thick coat is various shades of blonde, brown and black and sometimes the longer guard hairs are tipped with white giving them a grizzled appearance.They have a large hump of muscle over their shoulders and they have strong legs with huge paws. Their claws are non retractable and measure up to 15 cms (6 inches) in length.

They have a large head and a concave facial profile. Their ears are small and their jaws are strong. They are able to stand and walk on their hind legs and they do so to identify a threat or locate a food source.

Brown Bears are comfortable in the water and can swim well. They are known to be unpredictable and can be very aggressive, especially when defending their food.


Brown Bears are the most widely distributed species of bear. They can be found in the densely forested areas, tundra regions and open wilderness of North America, Europe and Asia. The size of their home range varies extensively depending on their location but it can be between 28 and 1,000 sq. kms (11 - 386 sq. miles).

They tend to be solitary and are territorial. They sometimes gather in large numbers at major food sources and form a social hierarchy based on age and size.

Brown Bears are not full hibernators, they enter a dormant state, and they can be woken easily. They locate a den, such as a cave, crevice or hollow log, and stay their during the winter months while they are in dormancy.


Brown Bears feed on a large variety of foods and their diets changes according to the season and their location. They are known to feed on berries, grasses, roots, sedges, bulbs, fungi, rodents, insects, salmon, reindeer, moose, bison, sheep, muskox and carrion.

They feed intensively from spring to autumn in order to put on enough weight to last them through their winter dormancy.


Brown Bears breed between May and July but through the process of delayed implantation the foetus will not begin to develop until the female enters her period of winter dormancy. After a gestation period of 8 weeks, 1 - 4 cubs are born. At birth the cubs are blind, hairless, toothless and they weigh less than 0.45 kgs (1 lb).

The cubs will feed on their mothers milk until spring and by this point they will weigh in the region of 6.8 - 9 kgs (15 - 20 lbs) and are ready to begin foraging for food with their mother. The cubs will remain with their mother for 2 - 4 years during which time they will learn survival techniques such as hunting, how to defend themselves, and where to den.

Females reach sexual maturity between 5 and 7 years old, where as males will not mate until they are strong enough to compete with other males for mating rights.


Predators of adult Brown Bears are other bears, tigers and humans. Cubs can fall prey to mountain lions, wolves, tigers and other bears.


There is little agreement on the classification of Brown Bears. Listed below are some possible subspecies:

Kodiak Bear
(Ursus arctos middendorffi)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are also known as the Alaska Coastal Brown Bear and the Alaskan Brown Bear. They are the largest subspecies and are found in southern Alaska.

Eurasian Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos arctos)
Conservation Status: Least Concern
They are also known as the Common Brown Bear and are found across northern Eurasia.

Grizzly Bear
(Ursus arctos horribilis)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are also known as the Silvertip Bear and they are found in Canada and the USA.

Syrian Bear
(Ursus arctos syriacus)
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
They are the smallest subspecies and they can be found in the middle east.

Tibetan Blue Bear
(Ursus arctos pruinosus)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are also known as the Blue Bear, Himalayan Blue Bear, Himalayan Snow Bear, Tibetan Brown Bear and Horse Bear. They are found in the eastern Tibetan plateau.

Bergman's Bear
(Ursus arctos piscator)
Conservation Status: Possibly Extinct

Hokkaido Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos yesoensis)
They are found in Japan.

Siberian Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos collaris)
They are found in Siberia, northern Mongolia, far northern China and extreme eastern Kazakhstan.

Mexican Grizzly Bear
(Ursus arctos nelsoni)
Conservation Status: Extinct

Atlas Bear
(Ursus arctos crowtheri)
Conservation Status: Extinct (1870s)
They were Africa's only native bear and they used to inhabit the Atlas Mountains from Morocco to Libya.

Kamchatka Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos beringianus)
They are also known as the Far Eastern Brown Bear and can be found on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Paramushir Island.

Gobi Bear
(Ursus arctos gobiensis)
They are found in Mongolia.

Himalayan Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos isabellinus)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are found in Nepal, Pakistan and northern India.

Amur Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos lasiotus)
They are also known as the Ussuri Brown Bear, Black Grizzly and Horse Bear. They are found in Russia, China and Japan.

Marsican Brown Bear
(Ursus arctos marsicanus)
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
They are only found in the Abruzzo National Park in Italy and it is estimated that there are only 30 individuals left.

Carpathian Bear
(Ursus arctos formicarius)

Ursus arctos meridionalis
They are found in northern Caucasus

Ursus arctos ognevi

Interesting Facts

The total population of Brown Bears stands at approximately 200,000 individuals.

The Brown Bear is the national animal of Finland.

The Brown Bear is a European Protected Species and it has protection throughout the European Union.

Similar Animals

Polar Bear
Giant Panda
Sun Bear
Sloth Bear
Spectacled Bear
Asiatic Black Bear
American Black Bear


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