Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bears reach weights of 300-1500 pounds. The coat color ranges from shades of blond, brown, black, or a combination of these; the long outer guard hairs are often tipped with white or silver giving it a grizzled appearance hence the name.

The grizzly has a large hump over the shoulders which is a muscle mass used to power the forelimbs in digging. The head is large and round with a concave facial profile. In spite of its size, this bear can run at speeds of up to 50 clicks per hour.

Grizzly Bear, North Vancouver Island
Grizzly Bear, North Vancouver Island, photo by Bud Logan

Once native to all of North America, it is now in some areas extinct or had its numbers greatly reduced. In BC, grizzly bears inhabit most of the province except the Queen Charlotte Islands and the lower mainland. Nearly half of Canada’s grizzly population – about 13000 lives in BC. They prefer semi-open country usually in mountainous areas.

There could be a breeding population of grizzles on Vancouver Island some say, this l will wait to see. In 2020, I photographed two by the 1st of May.

Grizzly Bear, North Vancouver Island, BC
Grizzly Bear, North Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The Grizzly Bear is primarily nocturnal and in the summer puts on up to 400 pounds of fat. Although they are not true hibernators and can be awakened easily, they like to den up in a protected spot, such as a cave, crevice or hollow log during the winter months.

Being omnivores, they feed on a variety of plants and berries including roots or sprouts and fungi as well as fish, insects and small mammals. Normally a solitary animal, the grizzly congregates alongside streams and rivers during the salmon spawn. Every other year females can produce 1 to 4 young who are about the size of rats, weighing less than a pound.

Grizzly Bear, North Vancouver Island, BC
Grizzly Bear, North Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The prints of the grizzly bear are characterized by an oval pad with five toes along the wider top of the pad on the hind feet. The front feet have a smaller heel pad and a dewclaw which may be present in the print. Claw marks over twice as long as the toe pads are usually evident.

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