A Guide to the Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bears are native creatures to Montana, and play a big part of ecosystems in the greater-northern area. It is important to know how they move, their habits they have and how to identify them.
This is our Guide to Grizzlies
It is your responsibility in Montana to know the difference between grizzlies and black bears.
- Grizzly bears are generally larger than black bears. Male grizzlies typically weigh between 400-500 lbs while female grizzlies vary between 250-350 lbs.
- Grizzlies have a wide range of coloration from light brown to black. Spring shedding, new growth, nutrition and climate all affect coloration.
- Grizzlies have longer, curved claws and their toes are closer together.
- Grizzlies have rounder, shorter ears and a dished-like face profile.
- Grizzlies are very strong and can run up to 35 miles per hour.
- They are relatively long-lived & are known to live for 30 or more years.
Female grizzlies with cubs, or sows, are very defensive of their young. A female with her young exhibits an almost reflexive response to any surprise intrusion or perceived threat to her cub.
- Adult bears are individualistic in behavior and normally are solitary wanderers. Except when caring for young or breeding, grizzly bears have solitary patterns of behavior.
- Males roam the most, using areas from 600 to 1,000 square miles. Females use areas up to and beyond 100 square miles. Grizzlies may travel 20 to 40 miles a day.
- Home range sizes of grizzly bears vary in relation to food availability, weather conditions and interactions with other bears. Individual bears may extend their range seasonally or from one year to the next.
- Often, especially in Montana, grizzlies can be seen in meadows, shrub fields, timber stands and alpine regions.
- Grizzlies are big opportunists and often change their behavior to take advantage of new food sources.
- They are technically classified as carnivores, but act and live like omnivores, as they are adaptable with food sources.
- Grizzlies have a strong sense of smell from over a mile away.
Bears in each ecosystem learn where and when particular foods are available through their personal experiences, and because of this, biologists have been able to learn and generally predict their seasonal distribution and movement.