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Brown bear

The brown bear is the largest carnivore in Scandinavia. However, it is not purely carnivorous, but has a typical omnivorous diet. It will eat ant eggs and berries or even graze lush grass. Despite its large size and rather clumsy appearance, it is both agile and fast.

Threat category according to IUCN
  • Least
    concern
  • Near
    threatened
  • Vulnerable
  • Endangered
  • Critically
    endangered
  • Utdöd
Threat category according to the Swedish Red List
  • Least
    concern
  • Near
    threatened
  • Vulnerable
  • Endangered
  • Critically
    endangered
  • Utdöd
  • Class Mammals (Mammalia)
  • Order  Carnivores (Carnivora)
  • Family Bears (Ursidae)
  • Genus Ursus
  • Species Ursus arctos
  • Subspecies U.a. arctos
Size

Adult males weigh 150–300 kg and females 100–200 kg. The average size decreases from north to south and from east to west throughout the entire distribution.

Ecology

Today, the Scandinavian brown bear is predominately a forest dweller inhabiting northerly coniferous forest. Historically they were also found in the deciduous forests in the southern parts of Sweden. Bears are mostly solitary with the exception of females with cubs. During the winter, the bear sleeps in a den. The den itself can be a dugout hole under a rock or log. The timing and duration of the winter sleep depends on weather and light conditions. The farther north the bear lives, the longer it tends to stay in the den.

Food habits

The brown bear is an omnivore who, depending on the season, will eat meat, fish, insects, berries, herbs, roots, ants and cadavers. In the fall, the bear will eat almost constantly in order to build up energy stores for the coming winter.

Life

Up to 20–25 years in the wild but may become considerably older in captivity.

Threat category

Globally, the brown bear is not threatened.

Reproduction

The bear has the lowest reproductive rate of any Swedish mammal. The females are mature at 4 years, but most will wait until they are 6 years before giving birth. The cubs are born in the den during winter. The litter size is 2–4 cubs, each weighing around 300–500 g. When they emerge from the den in the spring, they weigh 3–4 kg.

Did you know?

18 people in total have been attacked in Sweden by a bear from 1995 to 2007. Of these, two attacks were fatal. The cause of the attack has been one of the following five factors: – When an agitated bear chases a dog back to its owner. – When approaching too close to a bear’s den. – When a bear has been injured or threatened. – When venturing too close to a female with cubs. – When approaching the bear’s prey.

Grey seal > < Eastern bongo