Dean M. Chriss
Grizzly Youngster, Looking for Fish, Alaska

Grizzly Youngster, Looking for Fish, Tongass National Forest

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This young grizzly bear is learning how to fish. He's still small so he stands to get a better view of approaching salmon. The salmon here have an average weight of 40 pounds so the little guy isn't quite up to the task. He did land several already dead fish carcasses that were discarded by adults after eating the most nutritious parts. Adult male grizzly bears in this part of Alaska usually weigh 600 to 800 pounds while females weigh about 350 to 450 pounds. This youngster might be close to 100 pounds. Mother grizzlies nurse their cubs for up to three years.

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.