The Grizzly Bear or Silvertip Bear
The grizzly bear
When I was growing up in a little house about three or four miles from here, the whole area that I'm in was a lot less developed. That's three or four miles closer to town, mind you, and then it was very near to a lot of wide open spaces, very similar to my current home. Oh I recall my sister talking about seeing wolves in the front yard at night - but those were surely coyotes. I had no real fear of dogs of any kind then or now, but I recall out our back sliding glass door a thicket of trees, and that I had some bizarre irrational fear a time or two of seeing some giant bear charging out of there towards me.
That was just silly kid imagination, of course, but I assure you that anyone within fifty yards of a grizzly bear in the wild is someone just begging to get ripped apart and digested.
The Grizzly Bear is really the North American Brown Bear, but there's a bit of a funny tale involving the Latin or Scientific classification name of this animal, which is Ursus arctos horribilis You see, the name grizzly, came from the word grizzled, for the grizzly bear's grey tipped hairs, but when the bear was named by naturalist George Ord, he'd mistaken the word for grisly, and that's why you get the Latin horribilis.
While I definitely think that grizzly bears are beautiful, I know that some horrible things happen when humans get too close to them in the wild.
A grizzly bear mom with cub
A grizzly bear may grow very large, but they come into this world extremely small
Now when I wrote about black bears I over did the whole deal where I told about how it's extremely bad protocol for people who enjoy their lives or wish to keep living to be anywhere near a black bear momma with cubs. No, it's true - you're asking to die if you ever approach a black bear momma with cubs; but a black bear with or without cubs is nowhere near the size or the threat of a grizzly bear. When you've got a grizzly bear mother with cubs, then I submit that that exact creature, the North American Brown Bear mother who's got some cubs with her, is the single most deadly creature, and the single most aggressive mammal in North America.
Don't take it personally, it's not you, it's the cubs that are the issue. Momma Grizzly will, indeed, give anything seen as a threat the same treatment, and that treatment happens to be total annihilation. Momma Grizzly's cubs are extremely cute, and though they may grow someday to weigh as much as a thousand pounds, Momma Grizzly remembers them as helpless little fuzz balls that were born weighing just ONE pound.
There is really quite a lot of range in total size in grizzly bears - not unlike humans, the grizzly bears can be sort of small to extremely large. In the area around the Yukon River, female grizzly bears sometimes average as small as 220 pounds, but occasionally a male grizzly bear will be found and documented weighing in at around 1,500 pounds, quite a large carnivorous creature, wouldn't you say?
Though the grizzly bears ARE carnivorous, they primarily are omnivorous, which of course, means that they'll eat virtually anything. We'll get to that, what grizzly bears eat, in just a minute - but first I must tell you that Canada has much larger grizzly bears than does the United States, and this is due to the fact that in Canada's grizzly bear range there is more meat to eat. Grizzly bears that get to enjoy a protein rich diet universally grow larger than the grizzly bears that must deal with simple herbivorous diets and small mammals for protein.
Big and powerful, an adult grizzled bear
The Miller moth - a mainstay of grizzly bear diets
What do silvertip bears eat?
The short answer here is: Absolutely anything that they want. Of course that includes YOU, dear reader, should you become available, and heaven forbid, even me. As for myself, I'd love to spend time in far Northern California, Oregon, Washington State, and British Columbia, but as it is I'm safely here in Texas, where there are no grizzly bears - just a huge population of idiots that own tigers. There's more tigers in the state of Texas now than there are in the wild in Asia, but alas, I've digressed.
Moose, deer, sheep, elk, bison, caribou, and even the smaller black bears are all favourite protein snacks for grizzly bears - but we shouldn't forget here that grizzly bears can and sometimes do also cross breed with the black bears either. Most often though when folks think of bears, they tend to think of the way bears love to eat salmon, and this is, of course, totally true. Grizzly bears love salmon, trout, and bass - and they simply love to play in the water as well. But grizzly bears aren't particular when it comes to meat, they'll steal any coyote, wolf, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion, or other predator's kill any time they find it.
Of course grizzly bears also eat vegetation, and in Yellowstone National Park, it's about all there is for them to eat. The grizzly bears of Yellowstone mostly eat whitebark pine nuts, tubers, various grasses, various rodents, army cutworm moths, and any carcass that they can steal from the wolves, cougars, and coyotes. None of the available food in the Yellowstone National Park has the fat or protein content that would be required for the grizzly bears there to grow as large as the ones who have the salmon available to them in Alaska and British Columbia.
Grizzly bears also are exceedingly fond of berries, and some favourites include blackberries, salmon berries, cranberries, buffalo berries, and huckleberries.
Truly, what I'm finding online is a great bit of confusion as to just what and how much the grizzly bears of the Americas eat. Some estimates say as much as eighty or ninety percent of their diet is vegetation. Other estimates claim that the Miller moth may provide up to half of what a grizzly bear needs so far as calories are consumed during a typical year. If you're getting the idea that there are some disputes involved in grizzly bear diets, then you're certainly not the only person to have had that thought.
Grizzly bears famously love to eat salmon
El oso plateado, the silver bear, was once the largest land mammal in Mexico; but has been presumed extinct since around 1964. Just as the grizzly bears in British Columbia and Alaska are larger than those in Yellowstone National Park, El oso plateado was smaller still. The Mexican grizzly, which could also be found in Arizona and New Mexico, was primarily an herbivorous bear that also dinned on some small rodents and other small mammals. Declared seriously endangered in by 1960, and with only thirty known bears in existence, stupid humans continued hunting them and killing them. The last expedition to search for survivors was in 1969, and none were found.
For the exact same reasons that the Mexican grizzly bear is now extinct, the Northern grizzly bears are also the victims of being booted off of their own turf, and more often than not, just plain killed. Here on the home front, the prices of beef are rising, and this is because we suffered a great drought here in cattle rancher land last Summer, and because there is increased demand for American beef overseas. You see, corporations do not care about the people who live in the nation that they call home. Corporations exist to make money, and they'd rather make more money than to see to it that the people in their own neighbourhood or nation can afford to eat...so little wonder the grizzly bears were regarded so little in regards to their value to anyone's culture or ecosystem. It's money that matters in this dying epoch of humanity on Earth.
A current and former grizzly bear distribution map
Grizzly bear hibernation
Everyone knows that bears hibernate during the coldest months of the Winters, but few folks realize that this isn't entirely true. The reason it's not entirely true is because what the bears do is a false hibernation. In any case, a grizzly bear may put on as much as four hundred pounds of additional weight in order to go into it's sleep and slower metabolic state during the months when there is too scarce a supply of food for it to survive whilst maintaining it's regular daily routines.
Of course we've already seen that some female grizzly bears may weigh as little as three hundred pounds, and that some males may weigh as much as fifteen hundred pounds. It's safe to say that the smaller females aren't putting on four hundred pounds of weight prior to hibernation, but what is also important to note here is that the weights stated relative to grizzly bear sizes is the typical weight of the bears, and not the weight that these bears will have just prior to going into their false hibernation.
On the subject of grizzly bear intelligence - consider the timing involved in grizzly bear Winter slumber. Grizzlies will wait until just before a big snowstorm to enter their dens for slumber, and the purpose of this is that large amounts of snow will conceal their dens from predators. While a wide awake grizzly has little to fear from any animal outside of humans, a sleeping grizzly bear could easily be pounced on by a pack of wolves who would enjoy the large fat meal, and also make their own lives easier by getting rid of a very large predator that competes directly with them for prey, and often steals their kills that they worked so hard for.
What role do grizzly bears play in their ecosystems?
If you recall from the discussion above concerning the diet of the grizzly bear, you may recall that these bears are extremely fond of eating berries. This is significant in that the biological success of the plants that produce these berries is practically dependent upon grizzly bears eating them. The bears drop the seeds in nutrient rich fecal matter that has been proven to help the seeds to take off on their own and grow new plants. The grizzly bear is essential in distributing nitrogen into the soil of their habitat, and this is also aided and abetted by the habit of bringing salmon carcases inland where they are left to decay.
I'm a huge fan of acoustic music and acoustic instruments, and those instruments are most often dependent upon their tonality with the inclusion of spruce as a tone wood. What does this have to do with grizzly bears? Glad you asked. Spruce trees that have had salmon carcases left nearby benefit from the decaying organic matter. Dead salmon bones, literally, make spruce trees grow better. Next time you hear an acoustic guitar being played - thank a grizzly bear.
The grizzly bear is also a keystone predator, and the removal of the grizzly bear from an ecosystem that has also suffered the loss of wolves creates an atmosphere in which herbivorous animals over graze a forest devastating vegetation. Large meat eating predators such as wolves and grizzly bears are ESSENTIAL to the health of the environment that they live in - ecosystems are not to be played with, my friends - but tell that to an idiot rancher that is only concerned with selling his cattle.
The grizzly bear and conflicts with humanity
Grizzly bears are the most aggressive of all bears, and the reason for this is simple - grizzly bears are just too big to flee from threats, and so they've naturally developed the inclination to stand their ground and handle their business. Black bears are often small enough to climb trees, and they do this whenever they are attacked or chased by grizzly bears. It's simple logic then, why it is that black bears attack humans less frequently - they are genetically hard wired to know that they can escape.
Regardless of which bear we are talking about, a mother bear with cubs is about the last thing a human should ever wish to face in the wild. Seventy percent of the human fatalities associated with the grizzly bear are instances where a mother grizzly bear has killed a disrespectful or unaware human that was unlucky enough to have been anywhere near a mother grizzly with her extremely vulnerable cubs. Remember - baby grizzly bears often are born weighing just a single pound. Think of your mother, or perhaps you are a mother - if you are and are in a sound state of mind, then this should help you to understand why this is so statistically.
Please be sure to recognize that grizzly bears simply do not consider you as prey. People have been eaten by grizzly bears, but most persons killed by these animals were not eaten. You do not taste as good to a grizzly bear as does a Miller moth, or salmon. Get over that, and stop feeling slighted. Along with the bears feeling the need to protect their young - grizzly bears see humans in the proper light, as absolute greed filled thieves that will steal anything that they can get their hands on. Perhaps the grizzly bears saw and remembered what happened here between the European savages and the Native Americans. Maybe the grizzly bears have their own way of communicating how the invading savages raped and killed and took the entire continent from coast to coast? The grizzly bear sometimes kills humans simply because they are protecting their food supply, as well as their young. While the mother bear is fanatic about protecting her cubs - we men all realize how and what we are, and grizzly bear men are the same way, they want what is theirs, and they don't see any reason to suffer your slights in regards to their victuals.
The grizzly bear is a threatened animal
It's a real shame that grizzly bears have become threatened in both the United States of America and Canada, especially in light of the facts concerning just how large their initial range of habitat once was. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is working towards conservation of the grizzly bear, and that, my friends, is one federal agency that you won't hear this individual criticize too often. It would be so much the better for us all and for future generations if war monger administrations like the Bush and Obama administrations became things of the past, so that the vast US military budget could be shortened, and the world's single largest polluter, the same military, could suffer some losses to it's budget sent to more worthy causes than murdering Arabs under false pretence for control of their resources.
Unintentionally killed bears are heartbreakingly common in the great North West due to trains that carry grains. Such trains often "leak" grains and grizzly bears have come to rather enjoy those easy meals, and are then often hit by trains. The nation of Canada, having less of an inclination towards mindless bloodshed and asinine warfare than does it's Southern neighbour, has set into place some grizzly bear preserves, which does provide some encouragement.
Another major consideration and concern for the preservation of these animals is genetic stagnation. When enough roads and boundaries are set into place, the bears become confined, and their gene pool stagnates The never ending human sprawl is creating virtual trailer park communities for grizzly bears, with nothing but cousins to choose from for mating - obviously, this damages the integrity of the bears that do exist, and is yet another problem that exists not just for these grizzly bears, but for other wildlife, and is entirely part of the cancer that is human population growth in the Earth's Petri dish.
Yet another problem, and the most pathetic of them all, is the human hunting of grizzly bears. Idiotic humans that wish to have a bear as a trophy or a rug prefer the larger bears, and the killing of large male bears for idiotic and likely human male penis deficient related ego problems - only leads to juvenile bears killing the cubs of the male bears who's territory they've inherited. Such problems do not exist without the aide of human stupidity.
I hope that I've given some information here, and despite my negativity towards some of my fellows towards the conclusion, that you've either learned something or enjoyed it.