Grizzly Bear Hunting Behavior

Grizzly Bear Hunting Behavior

Grizzly Bear Opportunistic Hunting & Foraging

Grizzly bears are opportunistic omnivores with a varied diet that includes plants, berries, roots, insects, small mammals, and fish. While they are powerful predators and have the ability to hunt, their hunting behavior is different from that of some other large predators like wolves or big cats.

Grizzly Bears' Opportunistic Foraging

Grizzly bears are primarily opportunistic foragers, meaning they take advantage of a wide range of food sources based on availability.

They often feed on vegetation, berries, and roots, and their diet may vary seasonally.

Grizzly Bear Fishing Abilities

Grizzly bears are well-known for their fishing abilities. During the salmon spawning season, they can be observed catching fish in rivers and streams.

They use their keen sense of smell and sight to locate and capture fish, particularly salmon.

Insect Feeding

Grizzly bears consume a variety of insects, including ants, beetles, and other invertebrates. They may use their keen sense of smell to locate insect-rich areas and use their claws to access insect nests.

Grizzly Bears' Carrion Consumption

Grizzly bears are scavengers and will consume carrion (the flesh of dead animals) when available. This may include carcasses of animals that died from natural causes or those left behind by other predators.

Grizzly Bear Hunting Behavior in the Wild

While grizzly bears are capable of hunting and killing large prey, such as moose or elk calves, they generally do not rely on hunting as a primary food source.

Instead, they often target easier-to-catch prey, such as fish, small mammals, or vulnerable individuals.

Foraging Strategies of Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears use a variety of foraging strategies depending on the food source. For example, they may engage in digging for roots or tubers, turning over rocks to find insects, or using their claws to tear into tree bark for insects.

Grizzly Bear Communication and Dominance

Grizzly bears may engage in communication and dominance displays with other bears to establish access to prime foraging areas or food resources.

Dominant bears may have priority access to the best feeding sites.

While grizzly bears are capable predators and scavengers, their hunting behavior is highly opportunistic, and they obtain a significant portion of their nutrition from plant-based sources.

Additionally, human-bear conflicts can arise if bears become habituated to human food sources, leading to efforts to manage and mitigate these interactions for both human and bear safety.

Subscribe to Watch Free Grizzly Bear Videos Wildlife on Video

Grizzly Bears in Canada

Wild Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bear - Brown Bear Species

Genetic science reveals the grizzly to be a subspecies of the brown bear (Ursus arctos). In North America, "brown bear" is also known as "grizzly bear", being all the same species, Ursus arctos.

Coastal grizzly bears are larger and darker than inland grizzlies. They were considered a different species from grizzlies at one time. Kodiak grizzly bears also were considered a distinct species. At that time there were five different species of brown bear, including these three in North America.

Grizzly Bear Size

Female grizzlies usually weigh 130–180 kg (290–400 lb), while adult male grizzly bears weigh on average 180–360 kg (400–790 lb). Female Grizzly Bear average weights would be 136 kg (300 lb) inland and 227 kg (500 lb) coastal. One study found that the average weight for an inland male grizzly bear was around 272 kilograms (600 pounds), and the average weight for a coastal male was around 408 kg (899 lb). Newborn grizzly bear cubs uausally weigh less than 500 grams (1.1 lb).

Grizzly Bear Fur Color

Although grizzlies color can be blond to nearly black, grizzly bear fur is usually brown with darker legs and commonly white or blond tipped fur on the flank and back.

Grizzly Bear Physical Characteristics

A large muscular hump exists on adult grizzly bear shoulders. Aside from the distinguishing hump, grizzly bears also have "dished in" face profiles with short, rounded ears.

Grizzly bear's rear end is lower than its shoulders, where as a black bear's rump is higher than its shoulders.

Grizzly bear's front claws are usually 2–4 inches in length, where as a black bear's claws measure about 1–2 inches in length.

Grizzly Bear Hibernation

Grizzly bears hibernate from 5 to 7 months each year unless they live in warm climates where they may not hibernate at all. During hibernation, female grizzly bears give birth and their offspring will consume milk from their mother for the remainder of the hibernation period.

Grizzly bears must consume an immense amount of food to prepare for hibernation. Bears can gain hundreds of pounds during the period just before hibernation called hyperphagia. In this period, grizzlies may consume up to 10 times the amount of calories compared to Spring and Summer.

Bears do not eat during hibernation. Grizzly bears do not defecate or urinate throughout the entire hibernation period. Male grizzly bears usually come out of hibernation in early to mid-March, while females emerge in April or early May.

Bears often wait for a snowstorm as a trigger to enter their den. This behavior reduces the chances that predators will find the den. Grizzly Bear dens are typically at elevations above 1,800 m (5,900 ft) on north-facing slopes.

Inland or Rocky Mountain grizzlies spend nearly half of their life in dens while coastal grizzly bears spend less time in dens. If food is very plentiful year round, grizzly bears may not hibernate at all.

Grizzly Bear Reproduction

Grizzly bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of all land mammals in North America. Grizzly bears do not reach sexual maturity until they are at least five years old. After mating, females delay embryo implantation until hibernation, during which miscarriage can occur if the female is not in good enough condition. Female grizzly bears usually produce two cubs in a litter, with the mother caring for the cubs for up to two years before mating again.

Grizzlies are normally solitary animals, but in coastal areas, grizzlies gather around streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds during the salmon spawn. Females (sows) produce one to four cubs that are small and weigh only about 450 grams (1 lb) at birth. Unfortunately, most grizzly bear cubs do not make it through their first year due to many factors.

Grizzly Bear Lifespan

The average lifespan for a grizzly boar is estimated at 22 years, with sows living slightly longer at 26.

Females live longer than males due to their less dangerous life, as they do not fight during mating season like boars do. The oldest known wild inland grizzly was about 34 years old(Alaska), with the oldest known coastal bear being 39. Captive grizzlies have been known to live as long as 44 years.