Kodiak bear. By JKlingebiel | Shutterstock.com
Kodiak bear. By JKlingebiel | Shutterstock.com

About kodiak brown bears.

The Kodiak bear is a subspecies of brown bear that lives in Alaska. It is the largest of all the brown bears and, along with the polar bear, is one of the largest existing terrestrial carnivores.

Despite its large size, these bears can reach speeds of up to 56 km/h (34,7 mph) over short distances and they are very graceful swimmers.

These bears hibernate from October to May (adult males a little less) in most cases, but 25% of the male individuals remain active during the winter too. They can sleep for 8 months without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating and wake up without having lost their muscle tone.

Cubs are born with a very low weight, very light fur and their eyes are closed. The birth takes place in January/February in dens they dig in mountain sides. They spend a few months (until May or June) nursing to gain weight before they leave. Females usually have 2 or 3 cubs.

Kodiak bears are solitary and have no predators, but adult males can pose a threat to cubs. These males will kill the cubs without hesitation in order to be able to mate again with the female. A high percentage of cubs die because of this.

Despite being solitary animals, these bears can under certain circumstances live together with others. This happens especially in areas where the food is concentrated and it is known that this species has developed complex communication and social structure to avoid conflict.

These bears can enjoy a habitat where the presence of humans is minimal, thanks to the creation of the “Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge” in 1941. It is also an area where food is plenty.

Their fur is longer and thicker than the fur of other subspecies of brown bear.

They have poor eyesight but their senses of smell and hearing are excellent. This allows them to detect food from a great distance.

Around 10,000 or 12,000 years ago, in the last Ice Age, these bears separated and isolated themselves from the other brown bears, which is why this subspecies differs more from the others.

Females are sometimes seen with 5 or 6 cubs. This happens when they adopt cubs from other litters.

Only one (the eldest) out of 2 or 3 cubs will stay with its mother for 5 years. The others will have to leave her side after 3 years. This raises the mortality rate, as they are less prepared to survive on their own.

Kodiak brown bear. By bobby20 | Shutterstock.com
Kodiak brown bear. By bobby20 | Shutterstock.com
Kodiak bear, Kodiak brown bearLeast concern
Ursus arctos middendorffi244 cm (8 ft)
Ursidae181 – 635 kg (399 – 1,400 lb)
CarnivoraUp to 20 years
Mammalia180 days (delayed implantation)
3,500 approx.It eats mainly salmons that swim upstream in rivers, but it completes its diet with other types of prey, meat, some roots, sprouts and fruits.
Mountains, forests, bays, coves and wetlands of Alaska.Coastal areas of the south of Alaska and adjacent islands, like the Kodiak island where it takes its name from. 

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