Top 10 things to know about grizzly bears

A subspecies of the brown bear, the grizzly lives in the northern United States as well as in Canada. Feared, victim of hunters, he has somehow managed to resist for centuries and continues to fascinate despite a rather misleading image of man killer peddled by cinema and literature. And if the grizzly bear fascinates, it is because it is simply fascinating.

1. They are mostly vegetarians

A grizzly can be quite content with berries, nuts and plants in the wild. Officially classified in the category of omnivores, it nevertheless finds all the proteins it needs in plants but can afford, when the opportunity arises, a small fat of ants. Unfortunately, in places like US national parks, sometimes bordered by public dumps, these bears have also learned to rummage through garbage cans and have seen their food deteriorate markedly.

2. Baby grizzlies are exceptionally small

At birth, a cub weighs about 450 grams. Knowing that in adulthood, it can easily reach 300 or 400 kg, the difference is still enormous.

3. No one can win against a grizzly at running

It is always good to know. If you come face to face with one of these bears, for some reason, no need to run, it will always run faster than you. On average, a bear launched at full speed can reach 56 km/h. Just for information, Usain Bolt runs at 43 km/h. And again just for information, a cat can do better. But often he just doesn’t feel like it and prefers to sleep. If you are therefore faced with one of these specimens, I highly recommend our advice for surviving a bear.

4. They occupied most of North America

But that was before man got involved because now the grizzly’s habitat is limited to 2% of this same territory. It is found today in six areas in the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. They are also fortunately still very present in Alaska.

5. They almost disappeared

At one time, it was really limited. Blame it on the poachers of course, but also on the development of cities. Fortunately, in 2017, this majestic animal left the category of endangered species. The conservation policies having finally borne fruit. Well, that’s not to say the grizzly bear population isn’t threatened because there are only 2,000 left in the entire United States compared to 50,000 just two centuries ago.

6. It is possible to scare them

Finally in theory. Doug Peacock, one of the great experts on the subject, explains in his excellent book My Grizzly Years that if you find yourself facing a grizzly, only one method should be adopted: raise your arms above your head, turn your face to the side and address the grizzly in an authoritative tone. All hoping that he does not decide to charge anyway. In general, you should never startle a grizzly.

7. Grizzlies aren’t really interested in humans.

What you have to understand by this is that if we leave them alone, they will do the same. Unfortunately, the many observation hikes, organized in places like Yellowstone Park, have taught grizzly bears that humans tend to invade their territory. And suddenly, some animals have developed a certain mistrust which is not good at all for careless walkers.

8. They may resort to cannibalism

The thing with animals is that they don’t necessarily know that they are threatened. The grizzly, for example, does not hesitate to attack its congeners, or black bears, sometimes ending up eating them. The little ones, when they belong to another clan, can bear the brunt of the aggressiveness and appetite of an adult little inclined to let themselves be invaded.

9. Their claws are super long

It can exceed 10 cm. And if for other things, the size is not important, here yes. This gives a good idea of ​​the damage they can inflict during a fight.

10. They may not hibernate

Of course, ideally this is preferable. All bears, when winter comes, after having accumulated enough fat, like to retire to their den in which they remain for a long time without eating, drinking or eliminating waste. But grizzly bears are also able to skip hibernation and simply go into a state of torpor during the cold season.

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