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Brown Bear vs Grizzly Bear

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Naturally they share many traits, but they also possess many differences.

Did you know that the grizzly bear is in fact a sub-species of the brown bear?

Here's a break-down of them!


Let's first establish what species and sub-species are:

Species:  Organisms capable of producing offspring and sharing common characteristics are called species. 

Sub-species: A group of organisms that falls within a category of species. They inhabit different regions and display different physical traits, but may interbreed with individuals from the same species.

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Now let's compare them!

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Size:  Brown Bear

 Males typically weigh 300-860 lbs and females weigh 205-455 lbs.

They measure 3 to 10 ft in length.

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Size:  Grizzly Bear

Males clock 440-660 lbs in weight, and females reach 240-350 lbs. 

On average they're 5-8 feet tall.

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Habitat & Distribution:  Brown Bear

In North America, brown bears occur along coastlines, in alpine meadows, and in the tundra.

Brown bears in Europe inhabit mountain woodlands, whereas in Siberia, they are seen in the forests.

They can also be found in the Himalayas, Central Asia and some parts of Russia.

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Habitat & Distribution:  Grizzly Bear

The grizzlies reside in western Canada, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, southern Colorado, as well as in Washington.

Their natural habitats are prairies, alpine meadows, forests, and woodlands.

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Population:  Brown Bear

The population of brown bears is approximately 200,000 throughout the world.

Russia contains the largest population, housing 120,000 brown bears in total.

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Population:  Grizzly Bear

In the U.S., the number of grizzly bears is 85,000 - out of which 30,000 live in Alaska.

21,000 grizzlies live in Canada.

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Diet:  Brown Bear

Most commonly, brown bears feed on roots, berries, carrion, sedges, grasses, ground squirrels, and cow parsnip.

In several regions of Alaska, brown bears prey on caribou and moose.

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Diet:  Grizzly Bear

Grizzlies primarily inhabit inland; therefore, they mostly eat plants.

They commonly eat forbs, grasses, fruits, fleshy roots, and berries.

These species also hunt rodents like carrion, ground squirrel, fish and hoofed animals like elk, moose, deer, and caribou.

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Behavior:  Brown Bear

Adult brown bears are more active in the evening and early morning.

Brown bears that live near humans are nocturnal.

They live solitary lives, but the females with cubs live in gatherings with their offspring.

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Behavior:  Grizzly Bear

The grizzlies are active during night and day, and adapt as to avoid interaction with humans.

During the day, the grizzlies in dense vegetation rest in day beds such as alders, tall grass, dense forest, and willows.

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Reproduction: Brown Bear

Males fight with each other over females and protect them for about 7 to 21 days following mating.

The mating season stretches from May to July.

When the female brown bear goes into hibernation the young brown bear starts developing inside the mother’s uterus.

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Reproduction: Grizzly Bear

The grizzlies mate between May and July, and the male and female grizzlies go their separate ways after mating.

They are sexually mature between 3-8 years.

The reproductive rate of a grizzly bear is the slowest among all terrestrial mammals.

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As you can see these fluffy, yet lethal, creatures share many traits!

Swipe up for even more bear-info!

But nonetheless they're two different types of bear.