Dean M. Chriss
Grizzly Bear on Holiday, Swimming

Grizzly on Holiday

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This grizzly bear is swimming across a glacial stream. The water is an iridescent green-blue color due to glacial silt, often called "rock flour", suspended in it. This rock flour consists of very fine particles of rock generated by mechanical grinding of bedrock by the glacier. The scene looks idyllic but the water is always very cold. It is unlikely that the large grizzly is swimming here for enjoyment. Unfortunately for him, a frigid swim is the only way to get to the other side.

Adult male grizzly bears in this part of Alaska usually weigh 600 to 800 pounds while females weigh about 350 to 450 pounds. Grizzly bears are most easily identified by the large hump of muscle above their front shoulders. Grizzlies are known to dig more than any other bear species, and those muscles give them the strength to do it. Their claws, which can be 4 inches in length, also help with digging. Grizzly bears are omnivores and their diet varies greatly with location. In areas where fish and meat are less plentiful over 75% of their diet can consist of berries, leaves and nuts.