A brown or ordinary bear is a predatory mammal from the bear family. This is one of the largest and most dangerous species of terrestrial predators. About twenty subspecies of brown bear are distinguished, differing in their appearance and distribution area.
Description and appearance
The appearance of a brown bear is typical of all members of the bear family. The body of the animal is well developed and powerful..
There is a high withers, as well as a fairly massive head with small ears and eyes. The length of the relatively short tail varies between 6.5-21.0 cm. The paws are quite strong and well developed, with powerful and non-retractable claws. The feet are very wide, five-fingered.
Brown bear sizes
The average length of a brown bear that lives in the European part, as a rule, is about one and a half to two meters with a body weight in the range of 135-250 kg. The individuals inhabiting the middle zone of our country are slightly smaller in size and can weigh about 100-120 kg. The largest are Far Eastern bears and grizzlies, the sizes of which often reach three meters.
The color of the brown bear is quite variable. The differences in the color of the hide depend on the habitat, and the color of the fur can vary from a light fawn to bluish-black. Brown is considered standard.
It is interesting!A characteristic feature of a grizzly is the presence on the back of hair with whitish ends, due to which a kind of gray hair is present on the wool. Individuals with grayish-white coloration are found in the Himalayas. Animals with reddish-brown fur color inhabit Syria.
Under natural conditions, the average life expectancy of a brown bear is approximately twenty to thirty years. In captivity, this species is able to live fifty years, and sometimes more. Rare individuals survive in vivo to the age of fifteen.
Brown bear subspecies
The species of brown bear includes several subspecies or the so-called geographical races, which differ in size and color.
The most common subspecies:
- European brown bear with a body length of 150-250 cm, a tail length of 5-15 cm, a height at the withers of 90-110 cm and an average weight of 150-300 kg. Large subspecies with a powerful physique and pronounced hump at the withers. General staining varies from light grayish yellow to blackish dark brown. The fur is thick, long enough;
- Caucasian brown bear with an average body length of 185-215 cm and a body weight of 120-240 kg. The coat is short, coarse, paler than the Eurasian subspecies. The color ranges from a pale straw color to a uniform taupe. There is a pronounced, large dark-colored spot in the withers;
- East Siberian brown bear with a body weight of up to 330-350 kg and large skull sizes. The fur is long, soft and dense, with a pronounced sheen. The coat has a light brown or blackish brown or dark brown color. For some individuals, the presence in the color is quite clearly visible yellowish and black shades;
- Ussuri or Amur brown bear. In our country, this subspecies is well known under the name black grizzly. The average body weight of an adult male can vary between 350-450 kg. The subspecies is characterized by the presence of a large and well-developed skull with an elongated nose. The skin is almost black. A distinctive feature is the presence of long hair on the ears.
One of the largest subspecies in the territory of our country is the Far Eastern or Kamchatka brown bear, whose average body weight often exceeds 450-500 kg. Large adults have a large, massive skull and a wide, elevated front of the head. The fur is long, dense and soft, fawn yellow, blackish brown or completely black in color.
The area where the brown bear lives
The area of natural distribution of brown bears has undergone significant changes over the past century. Previously, subspecies were found in vast territories, stretching from England to the Japanese islands, as well as from Alaska to central Mexico.
Today, due to the active extermination of brown bears and their eviction from habitable territories, the most numerous predator groups are recorded only in western Canada, as well as in Alaska and in the forest zones of our country.
The period of activity of the predator falls at twilight, early morning and evening hours. Brown bear - an animal is very sensitive, orienting in space mainly with the help of hearing, as well as smell. Characteristic is low vision. Despite the impressive size and large body weight, brown bears are almost silent, fast and very easy to move predators.
It is interesting!The average running speed is 55-60 km / h. Bears swim well enough, but they can move with great difficulty over deep snow.
Brown bears belong to the category of settled animals, but young animals separated from the family are able to roam and actively seek a partner. Bears mark and defend the borders of their territory. In the summer, bears rest directly on the ground, nestled among the forbs and low shrubs. With the onset of autumn, the beast begins to prepare for itself a reliable winter shelter.
Brown bear feeding and prey
Brown bears are omnivorous, but the basis of the diet is vegetation represented by berries, acorns, nuts, roots, tubers and the stem part of plants. In a lean year, oats and corn are a good substitute for berries. Also, various insects represented by ants, worms, lizards, frogs, field and forest rodents are necessarily included in the diet of a predator.
Large adult predators are able to attack young artiodactyls. Roe deer, fallow deer, deer, wild boars and moose can become prey. An adult brown bear can, with one paw, break the ridge of its prey, then fill it with brushwood and protect it until the carcass is completely eaten. Near the water areas, some subspecies of brown bears prey on seals, fish and seals.
Grizzlies are able to attack the baribal bear and take prey from smaller predators.
It is interesting!Regardless of age, brown bears have excellent memory. These wild animals are able to easily remember mushroom or berry places, as well as quickly find their way.
The basis of the diet of the Far Eastern brown bear in the summer and autumn is spawning salmon. In lean years and poor food supply, a large predator is able to attack even domestic animals and grazing cattle.
Breeding and offspring
The mating season of the brown bear lasts a couple of months and begins in May, when the males engage in fierce fights. Females mate with several adult males at once. Latent pregnancy consists in the development of the embryo only at the stage of hibernation of the animal. The female carries about six to eight months. Blind and deaf, completely helpless and covered with sparse hair cubs, are born in the den. As a rule, the female carries two or three babies whose growth at the time of birth does not exceed a quarter meter with a weight of 450-500 g.
It is interesting! In the den, the cubs feed on milk and grow up to three months, after which they have milk teeth and they become able to independently feed on berries, vegetation and insects. However, cubs are breastfed for up to one and a half years or more.
Not only the female takes care of the offspring, but also the so-called pestun daughter, which appeared in the previous litter. The cubs live next to the female until about three to four years old, until puberty is reached. As a rule, the female gets offspring once every three years.
Hibernation of a brown bear
The sleep of a brown bear is completely different from the period of hibernation, characteristic of other species of mammals. During hibernation, the temperature of the body of a brown bear, respiratory rate, and pulse are practically unchanged. The bear does not fall into a state of complete numbness, and in the early days only slumbers.
At this time, the predator sensitively listens and reacts to the slightest danger by leaving the den. In warm and snowy winters, in the presence of a large amount of food, some males do not plunge into hibernation. Sleep occurs only when severe frosts occur and can last less than a month. In a dream, reserves of subcutaneous fat, which was accumulated in the summer and autumn, are wasted.
It will be interesting: Why bears sleep in the winter
Preparation for sleep
Winter shelters are equipped with adults in safe, dull and dry places, under a windbreak or the roots of a fallen tree. The predator is able to independently dig a deep lair in the ground or occupy mountain caves and rock crevices. Pregnant brown bears try to equip themselves and their offspring with a deeper and more spacious, warm lair, which is then lined with moss, spruce branches and fallen leaves from the inside.
It is interesting!Year-old cubs always spend the winter period with their mother. Such a company can be joined by cub cubs of the second year of life.
All adults and lonely predators hibernate alone. The exception is individuals living in Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. Here, the presence of several adult individuals in one lair is often observed.
Depending on weather conditions and some other factors, brown bears are able to remain in the den for up to six months. The time when the bear lies in the den, as well as the duration of the hibernation itself, may depend on the conditions imposed by weather conditions, the yield of the bait feed base, sex, age parameters, and even the physiological state of the animal.
It is interesting!An old wild animal that has walked up a lot of fat goes to hibernation much earlier, even before significant snow falls, and young and insufficiently well-fed individuals lie in a den in November-December.
The bedding period stretches for a couple of weeks or several months. Pregnant females are the first to get winter. Last of all, lairs are occupied by old males. The same place for hibernation in the winter can be used by a brown bear for several years.
A connecting rod is a brown bear that has not had time to accumulate a sufficient amount of subcutaneous fat and is not able, for this reason, to plunge into hibernation. In the process of searching for any food, such a predator is able to stagger around the whole winter. As a rule, such a brown bear moves uncertainly, has a battered and relatively exhausted appearance.
It is interesting!When meeting with dangerous opponents, brown bears utter a very loud roar, stand on their hind legs and try to bring down their opponent with a strong blow from their front powerful paws.
Hunger causes the beast to appear frequently in close proximity to human habitation.. The connecting rod bear is typical of northern regions characterized by severe winters, including the territory of the Far East and Siberia. A massive invasion of connecting rod bears can occur during lean seasons, about once every ten years. Hunting for connecting rod bears is not a fishing activity, but a necessary measure.
Population and species status
Brown bears do not belong to the category of animals of great commercial importance, but often act as an object for sport hunting. Among other things, bear skins are used in the creation of carpets, and meat is offered by restaurants as a delicious and unusual dish.
The healing properties of bear bile, as well as fat. Currently, there are approximately two hundred thousand brown bear individuals on the planet, so the species was listed as a threatened extinction in the Red Book.