Ursus Arctos, the scientific name for the 6 foot long and 700 pounds heavy brown bear. The brown bear is often found in the mountains and forests of Europe, North America and Asia. Alaska is home to one of the largest species of the brown bears. In addition to this, Russia is known to be home to more than half, that is 100,000 brown bears that are currently present in the world. The species is also known to be one of the most widespread and largely spotted bears in the world.
Characteristics and behaviour of the Brown Bear
When brown bears are first born into the world they are extremely vulnerable and weak species, they have no eyesights and weigh a maximum of only 680 grams. However, these animals have a rapid growth rate and within 6 six months become at least 25 kilograms and learn how to eat a large variety of food. Brown bears often live with their mothers until they are four to five years. Post this they reach a sexually mature age by six years. Despite this they still keep growing till the age of ten and eleven years.
Brown bears usually mate from May to July and have two to four offspring at a time, and then again mate in two years.
Diet and food
Sticking to an omnivorous diet the brown bear is often seen to be eating almost everything. From grass to shots and even meat their diet keeps changing based on the season as well as the environment they are living in at that moment.
One of the most common things that the brown bears consume are the roots and the insects. In addition to this the mammal also eats moose, elk and reptiles that they can find. In Alaska the bears staple diet is salmon in the months of migration.
What exactly is hibernation? Hibernation can be easily explained by saying that it is the deep sleep that some mammals who live in a cold environment. Hibernation reduces the heart and breathing rates and hence increases the energy and preserves it.
Brown bears usually go into hibernation in the months of November and December when the cold kicks in. They stay in hibernation for upto six months with the sole purpose of conserving their energy because of the lack of food supplies found. The preparation for hibernation starts a few weeks before when the bears eat upto 40 kilograms of food.
During the months of hibernation, the body of the bears adapts to several changes like, their heartbeat of 90 beats per minute just drops to 8 beats in a minute. In addition to this, their body temperature also drastically drops during hibernation. However, females bears often tend to wake up during this period to give birth to their babies.
The months of spring are usually when the bears wake up and is the ideal time for one to visit a bear park. Once bears come out of hibernation the first thing that they look for is food, food after winter is good for them as it is extremely rich in nutrients.
A few tips to visit a bear in the wild
Always respect a bear’s space. If he changes his behaviour around you, means you’re too close.
Use binoculars, this enables you to view them closely from a far distance.
Never approach crowds and displace bears.
Always stay in a group and make the least noise.
Leave sick and young bears alone. They usually have a bigger bear protecting them.
Do not run away from a bear, always make sure to make room for him and act normal.
Always pay attention to your surroundings.
Threats to the species
Initially brown bears were widely hunted among the other animals present. They were hunted for their meat, hides and the bear gall bladder was sold at extremely high prices in the Asian markets.
However there is no solid proof of the bear parts having any specific medical value. One of the other major threats to the bears is habitat destruction. This includes high cases of deforestation, climate change and global warming. The animals now have minimal space to live in also because of the excess land given to mining, lodging and road construction industries. Land used for these purposes was originally home to a number of animals inclusive of the black bear, these are now used by the people, taking away the home of these big species. Industrialization is a major cause of the harmful effects of the natural habitat and decline in the growth of beautiful species of animals and birds.
- Largest living species in Europe.
- Cubs at birth are blind.
- Mainly active at dusk or night.
- Live upto 20-30 years in the wild.
- They spend 16 hours looking for food.
- They seek a mate for short periods.
- Despite their size, they can run at 50 kilometers per hour.