european brown bear

Hello there! It’s the Brown Bear!

Our next Animal of the Week is a pretty common one that most defenders should be aware of…maybe you’ve seen a version of this guy in the Jungle Book, or Yogi Bear….well you guessed it, it’s the Brown Bear! Bears are some pretty awesome animals – most are omnivores and eat a mixed diet of plant and animal matter, they are some of the strongest predators and burliest animals on the planet, and humans have always been enamored with these creatures, often putting them in our legends, myths, and media.

What is the difference between a Brown Bear and a Grizzly Bear?

When people think of Brown Bears, we often hear the terms “Grizzly” and “Kodiak” also come into play. Are these guys all the same just with some unique nicknames? Well, almost Defenders! It’s sort of like a squares and rectangles type thing – All squares are in the rectangle family, but not every rectangle is a square. Well all Grizzly bears and Kodiak bears are Brown bears! But it’s not the other way around, because you can have a Brown bear that is a Grizzly so it’s not a Kodiak, or vice versa! There truly isn’t much difference between these bears, as they are all part of the same species, just slightly different subspecies.

Are Brown Bears aggressive?

Generally, adolescent males and single females are not extremely aggressive, and have been observed in friendly interactions with other bears. However, there are two groups of brown bears and bears in general that can be highly aggressive – adult males, and females with cubs. The majority of bear attacks are caused by one of these two types as they can be fairly territorial, and if they are used to humans in their habitat or conditioned with food, they can even lose some of their shyness and expect food from humans – usually leading to aggression if they don’t get what they want.

Can you outrun a Bear?

No. The short answer – and only answer you need – is no, a human will have no capability of outrunning a bear, and running away will often start a chase that won’t end well. No matter what terrain, whether uphill or downhill, a bear will easily outrun a human. If a bear were to come across your campsite, the best option is to back away slowly while keeping your eye on the animal to gauge how interested it is in pursuing you.

What is the strongest bear?

While Brown Bears can often be highly aggressive, they actually don’t hold the title of the strongest bear on the planet. The Polar Bear is often regarded as the largest bear on the planet, as well as one of the largest apex predators, and usually this correlates to being the strongest. However, many also put a subspecies of brown bear – the Kodiak Bear – as a close second, or perhaps even larger than the polar bear, mainly because the distinction of “largest” can often be vague, possibly meaning heaviest, “biggest”, or tallest.

How do you scare a bear away?

Well Defenders, we know that bears (as beautiful as they are) can be highly aggressive, easily outrun a human anywhere they are, and possibly even connect humans with food if they normally see them in their habitat. Luckily, many have found that when faced with a bear encounter in the wild, reacting calmly to scare away the bear can be the best solution for everyone involved. So how do you scare away a black bear? First, stand and hold your ground, while facing the bear directly. Do not run or approach the animal, but stay standing and make yourself look as big as possible – spread out your arms, or use a coat or piece of clothing to really look large. At the same time, making loud noises through yelling or using tools will complete the trickery that you are a bigger & scarier threat. Grizzly Bears however, will often leave a human alone if they can identify them as human, so speaking in a low monotone voice is recommended for them. Different species of bears can react in unique ways so being proactive is always the best solution – know what bears are in your area or the area of your campsite/hiking trip, learn the proper techniques for that species if you happen to have an encounter, and always keep Bear pepper spray when traveling to a location where bears live.

Bear Alaska ()