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Grizzly Bear Diets

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Submitted By jeredduda
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Jered Duda
Professor Joseph Wolcott
English 110

Grizzly Bear Diets

The grizzly bear is a subspecies of the brown bear; which generally lives in the uplands of western North America which crossed to Alaska from eastern Russia 100,000 years ago. In 1815, the grizzly formally got his name due to the color of its grizzled grey fur. Biologist John Muir once said that these bears “eat everything but granite.” The eating habits of these bears are pretty extreme and are known to be quite the scavengers. Food sources vary in availability from year to year, and from season to season. Grizzlies move throughout their habitat looking for foods available at that time of year. The availability of many foods is known to the bears by
Season and the bears move to these areas based on their experience. In this way, the general seasonal distribution. The three main seasons in which grizzly bears have an extensive diet are Spring, Summer, and Fall (Grizzly Bears).
From late March to May, Grizzlies arise from their dens, when adolescent vegetation begins to grow. Within early spring, bears move to lower terrain, away from the snow, to feed on this vegetation. Common spring food sources include ants, grasses, dandelion, clover, and other plants. The Grizzly diet consists with a significant amount of ungulate or hooved animals like elk and bison. Grizzly bears also dig up caches of nuts and pine seeds, stashed by pocket gophers and red squirrels from the previous fall. These inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings of grizzly bears can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon swim upstream for summer spawning. Dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them all the way into winter (U.S Fish and Wildlife Service).
When summer hits, Grizzly bears continue to fill up on dug up roots and a variety of insects, such as ants and grubs from, June to August. These bears usually return to newly warming high elevations looking to consumer succulent grasses, thistle, fireweed, mushrooms, and moths which are in abundance throughout these areas. In some instances, bears may prey upon newly born elk, deer, and bison calves in there early weeks of being born, until the young animals become too fast to be caught. Mid-summer produces extravagant strawberries and huckleberries which are among the favorite preferred snack for these bears. In the eco-system of Yellowstone national park, bears catch fresh cutthroat trout around spawning streams. Throughout the summer, grizzly bears scavenge the remains of wolf-killed ungulate carcasses left over by wolf packs (Rienard)
As the seasons draw into autumn, September through October Grizzlies tend to start eating mass amounts, preparing for the winter months. A full size grizzly bear can eat over 100 pounds of food just one week before hibernation. During winter, when there is little food left with in the bear its heart rate will slow down. Bear's don't eat or drink anything over the cold winter and can lose up to half its body weight over the winter. Bears spend most of fall eating relatively the same things as recent seasons, but with denning approaching in late October and November, the grizzly spends more and more time searching for food and eating. Foods such as berries, white bark and limber pine nuts, insect nests, and starchy tubers and roots are important for the grizzly to build up fat reserves before winter hibernation. After they have ingested a significant amount of protein rich nuts, seeds, fish, and meat. Around mid-November they crawl into their den and fall a sleep until the follow spring. Then repeat all over again.
These uniquely giant bears have a very sporadic and fulfilling diet. There dietary movements are somewhat predictable in that they ingest large amounts of food in a short period of time. This is critical to Grizzly survival, since they are only actively feeding for 6-8 months out of the year. These Bears have been thriving in America’s Pacific Northwest for tens of thousands of years and truly have what it takes to stand the test of time.

Work Cited
Rienard, William. "The Great Grizzly." Mattson, D.J., G.I. Green and R. Swalley. (1999).

"Grizzly Bears." U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. (2007).

"Grizzly Bear." (2012): n. page. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <>.

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