Brown bear

The European Brown Bear is a subspecies of the Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos). The Brown Bear lives in the forests and mountains of Europe, northern North America, and Asia. It is the most widely distributed bear in the world. However in various places its population is decreasing drastically for a number of reasons, primarily suitable habitat destruction and culling due to conflict with humans.

In mainland Europe the Brown Bear has a scattered and disconnected distribution. The small populations in Spain, Italy and the Alps are barely sustainable. In Scandinavia the population is connected to the very large population of Russia. The population in the Balkans, mainly in Croatia and Slovenia, is relatively large but disconnected from the major population of Europe that of the Carpathian Arc. It is essential to preserve this Carpathian population.

Slovakia is situated at the westernmost point of the Arc. Here the brown bear is concentrated in the forests and mountains of central and eastern Slovakia. Population estimates for this area vary enormously from 400 to 1400 animals. This discrepancy alone highlights the need for further research.

These omnivorous giants tend to be solitary animals, except for females and their cubs. Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up on a suitable north-west facing hillside. Females, or sows, den while pregnant and give birth during this winter rest, usually to a pair of cubs. Brown bear cubs nurse on their mother's milk until spring and generally stay with her for some two and a half year so females only reproduce once every three years.

The physiology of a brown bear is of a carnivore however they are highly omnivorous. Much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves and roots. Bears are poor hunters and in Slovakia they rarely eat other animals. The majority of the meat in their diet is from thawed carcasses found in melting avalanche snow through the spring.

Despite their enormous size, brown bears are extremely fast, having been clocked at speeds of 48 kilometers per hour. They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if a person gets between a mother bear and her cubs.


Fast Facts
Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore - mainly grasses and berries
Average lifespan in the wild: 25 years
Size: Up to 1.5 m at the shoulder whilst on all four legs.
         Close to 3 m stood up on its back legs!
Weight: Adult Male: 200 - 350 kg. Adult Female: 100-200 kg
Speed: Up to 48 km/h

Brown Bear distribution map
     Click on map to enlarge

Brown bear
Brown Bear & wolf
Brown Bear
Brown Bear cubs


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