Grizzly bears are the largest bears found in Idaho. They can be light brown to almost black, depending on the time of year. You can tell them apart from other bears by the distinctive hump on their shoulders. Male grizzlies can weigh from 300-850 pounds, and females can weigh from 200-450 pounds. Even though they weigh a lot, grizzlies can be very fast; they have been known to reach top speeds of 35 mph.
The grizzly bear lives along rivers and coastal areas, mountain meadows and in the tundra. In parts of Europe and Asia, the grizzly can be found in forests and mountain woodlands. Grizzlies are on Idaho's Sensitive Species list.
In areas where human development is low, grizzlies roam to the best seasonal food locations. A grizzly bear's territory can range between 70 and 400 square miles. Some bears have been known to travel to areas where animal carcasses lay, or to forage for berries and spring shoots of grasses, the Hedysarum plant or “bear roots." Later in the spring, the bears will move to valley bottoms to eat plants and search for more big game carcasses. They will even hunt for elk and moose calves.
Grizzly bears like to eat a variety of foods, which makes them omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and meat, like many humans do. The like grasses, sedges, roots, berries, insects, fish, carrion and small and large mammals. In some areas they eat moose, caribou and elk, in others they eat salmon.
When they have the opportunity, bears will eat human food and garbage. They do so because of their keen sense of smell and their large body size, which makes for huge appetites. Unfortunately, bears who develop the bad habit of acquiring human food often have to be moved or destroyed. So, never leave garbage out when camping or near your cabin or home if you are in grizzly bear habitat.
Grizzly bears are long lived mammals and generally live to be around 25 years old.
A grizzly bear cub plays