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What Do Grizzly Bears Eat?

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The grizzly bear is closely related to the brown bear and symbolizes the American wilderness. Originally from Eurasia, today they inhabit the northern parts of America, including Alaska, Western Canada and the remote eastern part of Russia, the Kamchatka peninsula.

Grizzly Bear eating salmonA grizzly bear’s favorite food, the salmon fish. In preparation for hibernation, a grizzly can add up to 400 pounds to its body weight.

They are big sized animals

Grizzlies, an apex predator, are massive animals and to maintain their huge sizes they need a lot of calories everyday. They possess huge marked territories for food searching and eventual hunting. They have an excellent sense of smell, thus they are able to locate a carcass from up to 25km away. They are active at day and night in a constant search for food.

Grizzlies are omnivores

The grizzlies are omnivore animals, meaning they eat any type of food. The Kamchatka peninsula and Alaska are a perfect example that grizzlies can adapt to any season and almost any environment. They eat plants, roots, fruits, birds’ eggs, fish, and as an alternative food source, they resort to smelly carcasses and dead game as well. Their eating habits rely on the season. During spring and summertime and early autumn 80% of the grizzly’s diet consists of fruits and berries.

Salmon season

The spawning period of the salmon is the most favorite period of grizzlies. This is the time when they accumulate the essential body fat that’s so important for the winter hibernation. They are solitary animals most of the time, but during the salmon season, they gather with other bears on the river banks, aggressively fighting for specific fishing spots.

Female grizzly bears

The females can have up to three cubs every couple of years and she nurses them for three years at the most. The females with cubs are protective of their young, therefore are very aggressive towards any possible threat to them. Nursing females consume more food than usual, completing their diet with mollusks, roots, insects, clams. In fact, sometimes grizzlies attack and eat black bears too.

When Grizzly bears DON’T eat

Grizzlies have strong ecosystem bonds as they spread the seeds of the consumed plants all around their patrolling area. Before hibernation, grizzlies can gain up to 440 pounds or 200kg in weight, preparing themselves for the winter period. Bears hibernate for 5-6 months and during this time they don’t eat and are using up their accumulated fat layer. One interesting fact about their habits is that they sometimes wait for a snowstorm before entering the den so that no one can track them down and disturb their hibernation.

Playing dead with a Grizzly

In comparison with the black bear attacks, grizzly attacks are a bit more complicated. When attacked by a black bear, it is advised to make as much noise as possible. While crossing paths with a grizzly can prove much more dangerous. However, playing dead is not advised as it may not be a good idea after all, since we all know grizzlies are fond of carrion.

Other, big bears

  1. Polar bears
  2. Panda bears

More on Grizzly bears: Facts about Grizzly Bears.