Grizzly bears

By George Panagos

What grizzly bears eat

Grizzly bears' diet varies on where it lives. Bears in costal Alaska eat lots of fish and clams. A grizzly living on inland mountains eats small animals, berries, and roots. Sometimes they eat large animals like deer and elk. Grizzlies live in a claimed territory, which means it has to eat whatever edible stuff is in the area.

Grizzlies will stalk a herd of animals. It picks off weak, sick, old and young animals that can't keep up with the herd. After the bear gets a kill, it covers the body with dirt and waits until its safe to eat. They've been known to even hunt black bears!

While getting ready for hibernation, a grizzly can eat as much as 100 pounds of food a day. For female grizzlies, the more they eat getting ready for hibernation affects the amount of cubs she will have. For the first 2 years of it's life, cubs only drink their mothers milk before switching to traditional foods. Soon they learn to recognize food from a mile away!

Grizzly bear vs. black bear

Although they are part of the same family, grizzlies and black bears are very different. They share the same range but black bears also live in Mexico and the great plains and east coast from Maine to Florida. You may think that black bears are black and grizzlies are brown, but both can be black, brown and cream. Grizzlies also can have grizzled (gray haired) fur. They also have about 1-4 cubs.

Grizzly bears nurse cubs for 82 weeks, while black bears nurse for 30 weeks. Grizzly bears are huge, over 9 feet long and can weigh 1200 pounds! Black bears are only 6 feet long and weigh 660 pounds. Some features to tell them apart are grizzly bears have longer claws. They also have a muscle hump on their backs.

Life of a grizzly bear

The life of a grizzly bear starts as it's mom mating in the summer. However, the eggs don't fertilize until late fall. When the mother is in hibernation, cubs are born in late January . When the mother wakes up she is not alone. 1-4 cubs, most likely 2, will be with her.For spring into summer cubs only drink their mother's milk. Then they will try solid food for the first time. The milk helps cubs gain weight, in fact they can gain 200 pounds before they are one year old! The first year of life is very dangerous for cubs. 40% die at this time.

Also,cubs must learn Vital survival skills. They do this by playing. Play helps cubs learn by play fighting and chasing. Play also helps cubs get enough exercise and increases speed and coordination. Cubs are classified as adults when they are 5 years old. Then they are ready to mate. Male grizzlies must wait a few more years before mating because they may be driven off by a larger, more powerful bear. They raise cubs, drive them off and mate again. They repeat this until they die.

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Grizzly bears once lived as far as Mexico and the Great plains. But people killed most of them since 1850. This is the main reason why there are few bears left in the 48 states. Other reasons are they can't find food on mountains so they go into valleys. Overtime valleys get populated so they may be killed because they pose as a threat to people. Now people are making an effort to save grizzly bears. One thing you can do is store food and garbage where bears can't get it. This is because they may get used to human food and go into towns. Then they might be killed. Some things have already been done, they have been protected by law for 41 years, meaning hunting has been outlawed. There is also a huge wildlife refuge in Alaska. Now, fewer grizzly bears are being killed by humans.
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How cubs become big and strong

Ever wonder how cubs get so big and strong? The first reason is the mother`s milk. It is rich in protein and helps cubs put on fat. the milk is so efficient that in a year, cubs gain from 2-200 pounds. Cubs must drink milk while in the den before they are ready to go outside. it's

not only the milk that helps, but cubs play a lot. Play is important because it increases speed and coordination. They play all the time and are always trying to get moms attention. After 5 years a cub will be able to live on it´s own.

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