Brown bears are the most widespread bear in the world. They can be found in Asia, Europe, and North America. They are the second largest bear in the world, closely following the polar bear in weight. While Kodiak island brown bear males can weigh up to 1,300 pounds, polar bear males can weigh up to 1,500 pounds.
The brown bear has a largely varied diet. Depending on where they are, they will eat whatever presents itself to them. They are “opportunistic feeders.” Mainly, brown bears eat a diet of nuts, seeds, berries, shoots, roots, rodents, fish (mainly salmon and trout), large and small grazing animals, and carrion. However, in more recent years, they have been eating more and more human trash and food because it tastes good and is easy to access. Eating human food is not only unhealthy for them, but can also get them in trouble with animal control.
Although they look different, polar bears are descendants of brown bears. Polar bears evolved when a population of brown bears were separated by glaciers from other brown bears. The two species are so closely related that they can produce hybrid offspring, known as pizzly bears.
The history of the brown bear is different from that of most other bears. At the end of the last Ice Age, when the last glacial retreat occurred, vast prairies and grasslands covered the earth. Unlike 6 of the 8 bear species that live in trees, the brown bear’s ancestors took advantage of these open spaces. To defend itself against prehistoric predators like lions and saber-toothed cats, brown bears grew larger and more aggressive than other bears. This trait can still be witnessed today.