We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Grizzly Bear?

Jessica Ellis
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The grizzly bear, Ursus arctos horribilus is a subspecies of brown bear that lives throughout North America. Despite their terrifying reputation, grizzlies mainly avoid humans, preferring to prey on fish and large animals. The grizzly bear is particularly aggressive when threatened, and attacks on humans have been recorded.

Grizzlies are quite large, with adult males weighing between 400-1,500 lbs (180-480 kg) and standing up to 8 ft (2.4 m) tall. Female bears are generally 1/3 smaller. Their immensely powerful hind legs allow them to stand up to get a view of their surroundings or as part of aggressive behavior. The grizzly bear is an impressive runner, able to attain speeds of 25 miles per hour (40 kph.) Their coloration varies from region to region, ranging from cinnamon red to almost completely black.

Like most brown bear species, the grizzly bear hibernates during winter months. During this period, females give birth, often to twin cubs. Cubs are very small at birth, weighing only one pound (453 g.) Cubs remain with their mothers for at least two years, and accompany her on hunts. Mother grizzlies are fiercely protective of their offspring, and will often attack anything that comes between them and their cubs.

The history between grizzlies and humans is complicated. As the American population expanded westward, the large ranges of the bears were frequently overtaken by the arrival of Despite the fact that grizzlies mostly avoid people, early settlers frequently killed the animals on sight, because of their fearsome reputation. Their pelt was also considered valuable trading material, leading to the commercial hunting of the animal as well. By the late 1870s, the population of bears had been severely reduced.

As an apex predator, grizzly bears are essential in maintaining sustainable balance in their ecosystems. By capping the population of deer and other ungulates, and by turning soil over in their pursuit of berries and shoots, the grizzly bear helps to maintain plant biodiversity. As grizzly populations declined and ungulate levels increased, available plant life shrank in the bears’ former habitats. With re-introduction programs of the late 20th century, experts have observed increased plant and avian diversity in the ranges where the bears have been released.

Grizzly bears have been known to attack humans, usually when startled or separated from their cubs. In bad food years, grizzlies have also attacked human campsites in search of anything edible. Campers in grizzly bear areas are warned to securely pack away any aromatic items before going to sleep, and preferably to tie them in a bag and suspend high off the ground. While grizzlies do not often prey on humans, they can be fiercely territorial and should not be approached under any circumstances.

Since the late 20th century, all United States national parks have forbidden the hunting of bears. Although some animals have fallen victim to accidents and occasionally are hit by trains or cars, the population levels of grizzlies have risen considerably since the protection laws were created. Despite increased numbers, the bears are not totally safe from threats of pollution and climate change, and many conservation organizations exist to help maintain the natural ranges and ensure the prosperous future of the grizzly bear.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By WaterHopper — On Nov 08, 2010

@dill1971: Another thing to be aware of is the fact that grizzly bears are more likely to attack when they are surprised. If you are hiking or camping, making a lot of noise is actually beneficial. That will alert bears of your presence long before they get close enough to you to be surprised.

Grizzly bear attacks are not all that common but taking the necessary precautions can certainly cut down your chances of encountering these massive creatures.

By chrisinbama — On Nov 08, 2010

@dill1971: If you are hiking or camping in areas where you know there are grizzly bears, there are certainly some precautions that need to be taken. Make sure to store your garbage and food properly. Put all of your food in tightly sealed containers. It is also a good idea to cook somewhere other than your campsite as grizzlies have a very acute sense of smell and can detect food smells from miles away.

Mamma grizzlies are very protective of their babies. If you come across grizzly cubs, consider it an extreme sign of danger and go the other way.

Most important, if you do happen to come across a grizzly bear and it runs towards you, play dead. Lie down on your stomach and cover your head. Do not run or try to fight back. That will only make things worse.

By dill1971 — On Nov 08, 2010

Are there certain precautions that should be taken when camping in an area known to habitat grizzly bears? We are planning a trip to Yellowstone and want to make sure we don't run into the grizzlies.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.