Grizzly Bear

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The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), also known as the silvertip bear or just the grizzly or North American brown bear, is a subspecies of brown bear (Ursus arctos) that generally lives in the uplands of western North America. This subspecies is thought to descend from Ussuri brown bears which crossed to Alaska from eastern Russia 100,000 years ago, though they did not move south until 13,000 years ago.[1]

Grizzlies are normally solitary, active animals, but in coastal areas, the grizzly congregates alongside streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds during the salmon spawn. Every other year, females (sows) produce one to four young (commonly two) which are small and weigh only about 500 grams (one pound). A sow is protective of her offspring and will attack if she thinks she or her cubs are threatened.

Contents

Name

The word "grizzly" in its name refers to "grizzled" or grey hairs in its fur, but when naturalist George Ord formally named the bear in 1815, he misunderstood the word as "grisly", to produce its biological Latin specific or subspecific name "horribilis".[2]

Description

Most female grizzlies weigh 150 - 350 kilograms (330 - 770 pounds), while males weigh on average 230 - 450 kg (500 - 1000 lb). Newborn bears may weigh less than 500 grams. Although variable from blond to nearly black, grizzly bear fur is typically brown in color with white tips.[3] A pronounced muscular hump occurs on their shoulders which strengthens their front limbs for digging and running; they can attain speeds of 55 km/hr (35 mph).

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