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Large and shaggy-haired, the brown bear (Ursus arctos) ranges in color, and is part of the family Ursidae, which is found across much of northern Eurasia and North America. Also known as the “bruin”, brown bears remain a least-concerned species as listed by the IUCN.
See the fact file below for more information on the brown bear or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Brown Bear worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Brown bears have large and concave heads with snouts sticking out of their face, which makes them easily identifiable from other bear species. They also have a large shoulder hump, which helps to differentiate them from the black bear (Ursus americanus). They have short tails, usually ranging from 4 to 5 inches long.
- Their sturdy forearms have massive paws with claws that extend up to 6 inches in length, which are primarily used for digging. Brown bear claws cannot be drawn back, and have somewhat blunt points. Just like all bears, they are plantigrades, or mammals that have the ability to stand and walk on the soles of the rear feet for long periods of time.
- Brown bears have fur that ranges in color, such as brown, black, tan, or blonde, or a combination of those. The longer outer guard hairs often have white or silver tips, giving them a more “grizzled” look.
- They are huge mammals, and can kill any large prey by breaking their backs and necks. Male brown bears are usually larger than females.
- Their head and body length is about 1.7 to 2.8 meters long, and their shoulder height is approximately 90 to 150 centimeters.
- The Eurasian brown bear is the smallest subspecies, with females weighing at most 90 kilograms. The Kodiak bear, Siberian brown bear, and the bears native to coastal Russia and Alaska are the largest subspecies of the brown bear.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
- Brown bears are widely-distributed across North America, Europe, northern Asia, and Japan.
- There are about 200,000 brown bears worldwide, with the largest populations in Russia (120,000), United States (32,500), and Canada (21,750). The majority of those in the US are found in Alaska, and these subspecies of brown bears are called “grizzly bears”.
- There are about 14,000 brown bears in Europe, from Spain to Russia, and from Scandinavia to Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece.
- Brown bears already faced extinction in the British Isles, and are immensely threatened in France and Spain, and the rest of Central Europe.
- Finland established brown bears as their national animal.
- They were once endemic to the Atlas Mountains in Africa, and may have existed in the latter parts of the 19th century in Algeria and Morocco. The last known Mexican brown bear was killed in 1960.
- In the arctic regions, the potential ecosystem of the brown bear is increasing. Climate change has allowed these bears to migrate farther north into what was once solely the domain of polar bears. In temperate areas, habitat loss is blamed due to the increasing number of endangerment and hunting.
- Grizzly bears seem to prefer open landscapes, while in Eurasia, these bears reside mostly in dense forests.
BEHAVIOR AND DIET
- Brown bears are generally solitary mammals, although they may huddle together in large groups where there is abundant food access and establish social hierarchies based on age and size.
- In the summer, they store substantial reserves of fat that may reach 400 pounds in larger populations, on which they rely to survive winter, when they become very lazy and sluggish.
- Although they do not hibernate completely and can be woken easily, brown bears love to stay in enclosed spots such as caves, crevices, or hollow logs during these cold months.
- Brown bears are omnivores; they eat mostly plants, such as berries, roots, sprouts, as well as fungi, and even fish, insects, and small mammals.
- Mating season starts late May through early July. Brown bears are serially monogamous, staying with the same partner from several days to weeks.
- Females reach sexual maturity between the age of 5 and 7, while males will usually not find a partner until they are large and strong enough to compete with other males for mating rights.
- A female’s zygote will separate and float freely within the uterus for half a year; this process is called delayed implantation. During winter dormancy, the fetus will cling to the uterine wall. The embryo will not implant in the uterus and will just be absorbed by the body if the mother did not gain enough weight to make it through the cold season.
- Cubs are born after eight weeks while the mother bear sleeps, with an average litter between one and four, with two being the most common number. The size of the litter depends on the age of the mother, geographic location, and food supply. There are also instances when older female brown bears give birth to a large number of litters.
- Cubs are initially born blind, with no teeth and fur, and weighing less than a pound. Their mother’s milk is their only source of food until spring and as late as early summer. During this time, cubs weigh from 15 to 20 pounds, and are old enough to follow their mother and start to search for solid food.
- Baby brown bears stay at their mother’s side from two to four years, during which time they acquire survival techniques through imitation, such as foraging for food with the highest nutritional value, hunting, fishing, self-defense, and finding shelter.
- Brown bears are prone to infanticide – adult males have a tendency to kill the cubs of another bear to make the female sexually receptive or simply for consumption. Cubs will climb up a tree in fear once they spot a strange male bear and the mother will defend them despite the male’s size, which may be twice hers.
- Brown bears are drawn to garbage dumps and litter bins, and may attempt to visit human dwellings or barns in search for food.
- Surprise, curiosity, invaded personal space, predatory, hunting wounds, carcass defense, and provoked charge are the main reasons for bear attacks, according to the Alaska Science Center.
Brown Bear Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the brown bear across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Brown Bear worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the brown bear (Ursus arctos) which ranges in color, and is part of the family Ursidae, which is found across much of northern Eurasia and North America. Also known as the “bruin”, brown bears remain a least-concerned species as listed by the IUCN.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Brown Bear Facts
- Meet Brown Bear
- Brown Bear Anatomy
- Life Cycle of a Brown Bear
- Just Bear Things
- Shades of Brown
- Brown and Black
- Ask Brown Bear
- Just More Bear Facts
- A Bear’s Tale
- Relationship with Humans
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Link will appear as Brown Bear Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 4, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.