While the black bear is found only throughout North and Central America, the brown bear family is spread all over the world. They live in dense forests in mountains, valleys and meadows and can be found in Canada, in central regions of the U.S. And throughout Europe and Asia.
Brown bears can be recognized by their most distinctive feature, their shoulder hump. Super strong shoulder muscles help this bear to dig up roots and tear apart logs to find food. These muscles are located in the ‘hump’ of the brown bear. Brown bears can move rocks and logs and dig through hard soil and rocky ground using their long sharp claws when making their dens.
The brown bear’s diet is quite similar to all other bears. They eat grass, fruit, insects, roots and bulbs of plants along with carrion and, when hungry enough, they will hunt small animals. Brown bears that live near the coast feed on fish, particularly salmon. These bears will grow much larger than others because of their protein rich diet.
The entrance of a Brown Bear's den is a tunnel that goes down to a small ‘bedroom’. The female bear will hibernate all winter long, not even waking up to give birth! The baby cubs will find their way to their mother’s chest and nurse and sleep until the mother bear wakes up. By the time she does wake up her teeny little cubs are much larger and quite playful! The den will probably be used only once.
A Brown Bear cub’s life is dangerous. There are many animals that don’t mind eating bear cubs and male adult bears are one of them!
The Brown Bear, like it’s relative, the Black Bear, has many sub-species:
- Grizzly bear (North America)
- Himalayan snow bear
- Kodiak bear (Alaska)
- Hokkaido brown bear (Japan)
- Siberian bear (Russia)
- Red bear (India and the Himalayas)