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Brown / Grizzly Bear Facts

Taxonomy:  While there has been much confusion about the taxonomy of brown bears (Ursus arctos), taxonomists agree there are at least two subspecies in North America -- the grizzly bear (U. a. horribilis) and the Kodiak bear (U. a. middendorffi).  There is confusion about whether to consider others, like U. a. gyas and  U. a. macfarlani, as separate subspecies. 

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Kodiak Bears

large_brown_bear.jpgKodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) live on Kodiak Island or one of the nearby islands off the coast of southwestern Alaska. These bears can be nearly as large as polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and include the largest brown bears (Ursus arctos) on record. Sixteen of the twenty largest brown bears killed by hunters have come from the Kodiak Archipelago.

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Is it Brown Bear or Grizzly?

grizzly_fish_mount_800.jpgWe don't know.  The mount came to us with no information about its place of origin.  It is probably a Kodiak or coastal brown bear from its large size and non-grizzled fur.  That would make the fish in its mouth appropriate because fish are an important food contributing to the large size of both of those subspecies.   

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Big Brown Bears

Kodiak bears are among the largest of all living bears, being comparable in size to polar bears.  Sixteen of the twenty largest brown bears killed by hunters have come from the Kodiak Archipelago.  A large male can stand over 10 feet tall on his hind legs, and 5 feet on all four legs.