Brown Bears

Image credit: David cc2.0
Image credit: David cc2.0

Brown Bears…

Brown Bear at the Buenos Aires Zoo
Image credit: David cc2.0

Even though these bears are called “brown”, they actually come in various shades ranging from light cream to almost black. Brown bears are physically well-adapted for hunting, digging, fishing, foraging and any other method that can get them their meals — like their front claws which help them to dig for roots and tubers, and their strong jaws which help them catch and hold spawning salmon. Brown bears are omnivores and feed on anything that can provide them with nutrition.


It is a well-known fact that bears hibernate throughout the winter. During this time their bodies adapt to conserve energy — their heart rate slows and they don’t even urinate or defecate. They eat large quantities of food before winter, to store enough fat to survive the hibernation period, which lasts 4 to 6 months.

Mother bear and 3 cubs
Mother bear and 3 cubs of a few months old. Image credit: Arend cc2.0

The females, in particular, need to store up for the winter, because that is when they give birth to their cubs, which are born while the mother is asleep. The newborns are hairless and toothless, and also born with eyes closed — they find their mother’s nipples by following the warmth. The mother sleeps throughout all this and the cubs spend their time suckling and seeking warmth in her fur. By the time the mother emerges from her sleep she is very hungry, due to the extra mouths she fed.

brown bear cubs safe up in the tree
At any sign of danger mother bear directs her cubs of a few months old in the tree. Image credit: Arend cc2.0

Adult males tend to commit infanticide (killing the cubs), either to eat them or to mate with the female. If the mother feels that her cubs are in danger, she urges them to find safety up in trees. Adult brown bears are not very good at climbing trees, so the cubs are pretty safe up there.

Brown bears are featured in the following books:
25 Top Predators in the World
25 Most Deadly Animals in the World
101 Facts… Bears!

The YouTube video below is a collection of videos about brown bears. The list of videos featured is underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. World’s Deadliest : Grizzly Bear Attacks Prey by NatGeoWild – Grizzly bears can and will eat just about anything. And that means running down whatever they can catch, from elk calves and salmon to baby bison. From National Geographic Wild – “[easyazon-link asin=”B004IF4EXW” locale=”us”]World’s Deadliest[/easyazon-link]”
  2. World’s Deadliest : Grizzly Hunts with Nose by NatGeoWild – The scent-detecting area of a grizzly bear’s nose is a hundred times larger than a human’s. A grizzly can zero in on the smell of food a mile away, from rotting carcasses to vulnerable young elk. From National Geographic Wild – “[easyazon-link asin=”B004IF4EXW” locale=”us”]World’s Deadliest[/easyazon-link]”
  3. How to Survive a Grizzly Attack by National Geographic – A bear can go from disinterested to dangerous in an instant. Do you know what to do if you’re attacked by a startled grizzly?
  4. Wolves vs. Grizzly Bears by National Geographic – Grizzly bears and wolves fight for resources in Yellowstone Park.
  5. Alaska’s Kodiak bears – Lonely Planet travel video by Lonely Planet – Kodiak Island off the south coast of Alaska is home to the world’s biggest browns bears, and you can see them up close with the help of an expert guide.


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