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Brown Bears

Brown bears, also known as Ursus arctos, are found in extremely small numbers from Western Europe and Palestine to eastern Siberia and the Himalayan region. The habitat occupied by brown bears vary a lot, as the preference may be for desert edges or high mountain forests and sometimes it may be of ice fields. However, brown bears usually prefer an area with dense cover, because they can get shelter by day in such an area. The Grizzly Bear, Kodiak Bear, Mexican Grizzly Bear, and Ursus arctos isabellinus are some of the sub-species of brown bears found in different places.

The brown bears, one of the largest of living carnivores, are 1 to 2.8 meters long from head to rump, while the tails are 65 to 210 mm long, and the height up to the shoulders is between 90 to 150 cm. The weight of brown bears ranges between 80 to 600 kg, and sometimes more. However, adult males are larger than the females by approximately 8 to 10%. The color of the fur is usually dark brown, but it may vary from cream to almost black. Brown bears are extremely strong and are able to kill a cow with a blow.

Brown Bears are nocturnal, and these put on up to 180 kg of fat during summer, which helps for the survival during the winter season, as in winter brown bears become very lethargic and prefer to den in a protected place. However, these are not true hibernators and can wake easily. Brown bears are also omnivores, i.e., take plant parts, berries, roots, and sprouts; fungi and fish, insects, and small mammals as their food.

Brown bears mature sexually between 4 to 6 years of age and grow until 10 to 11 years. Female brown bears copulate with multiple males during estrus for 10 to 30 days and males may fight over females and guard them for 1 to 3 weeks. The mating of brown bears takes place from the months of May to July. The total gestation time including pre implantation ranges between 6 to 9 months. January to March are the months for giving birth to offspring; however, the female brown bear is in her hibernation during winter season at the time of birth. In on litter, normally two to three off-springs are born, and a female breeds every 2 to 4 years.

Brown bears may be active at any time of the day, but usually they forage in the morning and evening, and by day they rest in dense cover. Brown bears start hibernation between October to December and remain such until the months of January to March. Also, brown bears dig their dens themselves and make bed out of dry vegetation. They are usually of solitary nature, and are occasionally gather in larger numbers at some food sources. Brown bears have the tendency to travel hundreds of kilometers to meet the favorable conditions for food and shelter!

Further Reading

Animal Diversity Web
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ursus_arctos.html

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