Grizzly Bears vs. Brown Bears

Submitted by Michele on 5/23/01. ( )

This might end up to be a little embarassing for me, being a taxidermist you should probably know everything there is to know about animals. We have a major argument going on in our household on weather Browns and inland Grizzly's are the same species. I say Grizzly's are inland, Browns, Kodiaks all the same just different environments. I was told inland grizzly's, like the ones at Denali National Forests and the ones in Montana have different facial features. If they do I have never noticed and also shorter claws and other things, but in my opinion that could just be having to forage for food in differen terrains and under totally different conditions. The size I would think would be to the abundance of fish that the coastal Browns and Kodiaks have. Well, I know there is some one out there with the facts, like Bill in Texas? It's almost like the Rainbow/Steelehead or Caribou/Raindeer thing. Thanks ahead of time for your input if any.

Return to Category Menu

bear by any other name

This response submitted by jim marsico on 5/23/01. ( )

A brown bear becomes a grizzly when it travels up a river into the interior 100 miles+. Thats what the boone and crocket club says. Some grizzlies/brownbears in different parts of the world may have slightly different looks to them, like the grizlies of Italy or China for example, and slightly different latin names, but they are all basicly the same animal.

Same Bear

This response submitted by George on 5/23/01. ( )

As Jim said, it's "location, location, location". Your argument isn't that far off what biologists have argued for years. Currently they agree with what Jim said and say that the only reason the Browns are so much bigger is that they have the constant food source of rich salmon and dead seals and whales that wash up on the coastal beaches. Inland bears have to live on carrion, rodents calves, some larger mammals and berries during the GOOD times.

ex alaska bear guide

This response submitted by prince william in a can/or is that prince albert on 5/23/01. ( )

Alaska looks at this as both bears being the same species, when you buy a tag you get one that says brown/grizzly bear....Kodiak bears are just brown/grizzly bears that happen to live on Kodiak Island

Circumpolar Species

This response submitted by Bill Gaither on 5/23/01. ( )

Many wildlife species are circumpoler in that they inhabit the entire arctic or subarctic. Polar bears, caribou, and many other species of animal have traveled at will around the polar ice caps for eons. When the land brige existed between Western North America and Eastern Asia, many species traveled to and fro along it.

The progenitor of modern brown or grizzly bears probably developed in China and spread through three continents from its place of origin, crossing the land bridge to North America during the last ice age.
No matter, while region differences do exist regarding color and size, all brown bears are lumped together, worldwide under one specific. The term "Kodiak" bear was loosley applied to all coastal grizzlies in Alaska. Coastal Brown bears have a season long supply of nutrious food, from dead mammals and forbs in the spring through the salmon runs of summer and early fall to the abundant berries they graze on the way to hibernation.

Interior brown bears have much larger ranges, a less ample food supply and generally have to work harder to eat. Their size probably is not as a result of less food, but that a smaller engine requires less fuel. The interior bears have to expend a lot of energy to glean nutrition from their habitat. If they were larger beasts, the calorie burn rate would exceed the food supply available. Inefficiency in nature results in extinction, less food, smaller hunter, more endurance, sort of the difference between a marathon runner and chocolate chomping couch potato.

More Circumpolar Species

This response submitted by Russ Erickson on 12/21/01. ( )

Other types of animals follow this patter.

Look at the variations between the Rocky Mountain Elk, the Tule Elk,
the Roosevelt's Elk, the Siberian Elk, and the European Red Deer.

Variants of Moose are found in Scandanavia and Northern Russia.
Poland is home to a type of Bison that looks like ours, is smaller,
and endangered.

Return to Category Menu