The Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) is present in the North Americas (USA and Canada), Europe and Asia. In Europe it is the largest terrestrial carnivore. Bears are solitary animals preferring forestall regions. Nevertheless there are brown bears living in arid regions like Gobi region in Mongolia as well. They can adapt to many different circumstances. If food availability is abundant bears can be seen in greater numbers (salmon hunting in Alaska). But bears need space; a male territory can be up to 100-500 km2.

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Food

The Brown Bear is the largest carnivore in Europe, although 70% of its diet is vegetal. It is better to describe the species as omnivorous, eating plant, roots, grasses, fruits, catching fish and eating carrion.

Reproduction

Brown Bears mate in May- August and after a pregnancy of six to eight months the female gives birth to twins or triplets mostly. The pregnancy has a species typical aspect, as the development of the foetus is delayed and “retarded”. The physical condition of the mother , abundance of food as the main factor, is the indicator for the development of the foetus. Due to this delayed pregnancy the bear cubs are born at a very low weight (max 500 grams), naked, without eyesight, and unable to life independently from their mother. The winter period however, when the mother is in her winter den, well fed, is a safe moment and place for both mother and cubs. After three months the cubs are already up to 3-4 kg and will leave the den in spring. Cubs and yearlings stay 18-30 months with their mother and then wean off as they by then can survive on their own. Nevertheless cub mortality is up to 50% of which infanticide, accidents and disturbed physical developments are most often observed.

Brown Bear Cub

Behaviour

The Brown bear is a solitary living animal with bad eyesight. However his “ODEUR capacity” is impressive as his hearing is well developed. Brown bears are normally linked to their region and have a territory. Females mostly stay close to the den where she was born, males however roam around and often have home ranges from 100-500 km2 . Bears have a good physical condition and on a daily basis they can move up to 50 km. They are good swimmers and climbers. It is observed that bears can swim to islands 30 km from the mainland (Croatia and Baltic States). As the brown bear can run very fast, a max of 50 km is observed, at an encounter with a bear it is not advised to run away, as he is faster than Usain Bolt. So you will have no chances to escape. The best to do is to stay out of the 10-25 meters zone of the bear and to frighten the bears by shouting, making strong movements and/or to use pepper spray if it comes too close (for comfort).
The bear walks on his entire foot, a special technique, and this makes his prints easy to recognize. Under normal circumstances bears are day and night active, but it prefers to feed early mornings and later at night. At daytime it takes its rest, often sunbathing.

Brown Bear in tree

Skin colour and body size

The colour of the fur ranges from almost white to almost black, whereas youngsters have a white coloured spot or marking on their throat and a white spot between their shoulders. In the Himalayas an almost white bear has become a legend and declared divine, as the Inuit in northern America worship a white/pink black bear as a holy and very sacred bear. The weight of a brown bear vary very much as less than 100 kg (Gobi bear) to over 700 kg for Grizzly’s. Body weight is very much depending on food availability and climate.