Explorers Lewis and Clark first described this creature as “grisley”, though what exactly they meant is not 100% clear. It likely referred to the bear’s “grizzled” appearance, with lighter colored tips on its fur. Grizzly Bears can be differentiated from the smaller Black Bear species in a few ways – the Grizzly has a prominent shoulder hump, a less narrow face, and its rump is lower than the shoulders.
Though they are in the order Carnivora, Grizzlies eat animals and plant matter. They eat berries and insects, but will also prey on deer, moose and other large animals. Fish, particularly salmon, makes up a large part of the diet of Grizzlies in Alaska and Canada, and this protein rich diet causes these bears to grow much larger than other Grizzlies.
Grizzly Bears have a reputation for being dangerous animals, but they prefer to avoid humans and typically only attack when surprised or defending their young. Grizzlies are considered a species of “Least Concern”, although their numbers are threatened in certain regions of Canada and the United States. Two southern subspecies, the California Grizzly and the Mexican Grizzly, are considered extinct.