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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

9 Wild Facts About the Average Brown Bear

In her own words.

1 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

You could say I’m a flexitarian.

While we enjoy salmon and trout, brown bears also eat a lot of berries, roots, grass, fruits, nuts, and small animals. We may be at the top of the food chain, but 80 to 90% of our diet is vegetation.

2 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

You may not realize this, but we’re actually pretty skilled conversationalists.

We do communicate with each other through grunting and growling, but we also use movement and smell to express ourselves.

3 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

I hibernate for about 5 to 8 months.

During that time, I take resting very seriously. My heart rate and temperature both drop, and I stop excreting waste. I pretty much completely shut down. While I sleep, check out these weird facts about jellyfish. 

4 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

I have delivered my babies in my sleep.

During the months of winter rest, my sisters and I will give birth to our cubs in our dens. My babies will then stay under my care for about two and a half years.

5 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

My cubs weigh less than your human babies.

My babies will start off blind, toothless, and weighing only one pound. They’re typically born with one to two other siblings, and I’ll nurse them until May, when hibernation ends.

6 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

I’m kind of a lone wolf … er, bear.

Once we’re done traveling with our own moms as cubs, it is very rare to see a
group of us together. However, certain streams serve as gathering
spots for groups of us brown bears to hunt for salmon. (Mmm…salmon.)

7 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

Not to brag, but I’m huge.

We’re actually the largest of all bear species, ranging anywhere from 3 1/2 feet to 7 feet tall. Our weight fluctuates depending on gender, but the largest of us can reach 2,200 pounds. Don’t forget to browse these bear puns if you need a chuckle!

8 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

We heart Alaska.

Even though we’re the most widespread bears in the world—we’ve been spotted in Europe, Asia, and North America—about 30,000 of us live in Alaska, which is the most prominent U.S. population.

9 / 10
Adam Chapman, © Disney

We know how to give each other space.

To avoid conflict, brown bears will mark their home ranges as a warning for other bears to stay away, by rubbing against trees and urinating in our area.

10 / 10

See for yourself:

Out now is Disneynature’s movie Bears, the story of a mother and her cubs living and surviving in Alaska. Experience the world through their eyes and get a closer look at what it takes to raise a family in the wilderness.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest