You are walking in the woods and catch sight of a bear in the distance. Could you tell the difference between a grizzly bear and a black bear? Many Americans could not, and that ignorance could be deadly. This article will give you the information you need to know the difference between the grizzly bear and the black bear.
The grizzly bear is massive and is anywhere from 5 feet to 8 feet in length, with a weight of about 300-1000 lbs. That is a lot of grizzly, and it knows how to utilize that size. A black bear is smaller, and generally is between 4 feet and 6 feet in length and 250-650 pounds. Because of the overlap in size, you should certainly not use this as a determination of grizzly or black bear. A large black bear will be about the size of a smallish grizzly bear, so the size goes out the window.
Generally speaking, the grizzly bear likes to be in wide open spaces, and can often be found in fields. Black bears tend to enjoy a bit more privacy, and stay near the woods on the whole. These are generalizations that are not guarantees. Both species will venture into places they normally do not hang out in, and many home owners would attest to that.
This is easily the most common misconception when it comes to grizzly and black bear identification. Many people believe that a black bear is black, and that is that. Nothing could be further from the truth. A black bear can be black, but also it can be brown, blonde, orange, or any of the colors in between. Add to the mix that the grizzly bear can be all those colors as well, and you quickly see why this does not work with identification.
This is a better way to identify if the bear is a grizzly or a black bear. A black bear generally has larger ears than the grizzly bear. A black bear usually is missing the rough hair under the throat the grizzly bear sports. A grizzly has a large hump at the shoulders and the black bear does not. A black bear will appear to be slumped forward due to a higher rear.
Hopefully you will not find yourself close enough to any wild bear to see his claws, but that is a sure fire way to tell a grizzly from a black bear. A grizzly has light colored claws that are very prominent and visible. A black bear has dark claws that tend to blend in and not be noticed. Again, if you are close enough to see the claws, you are too close.
The best way to determine the type of bear is a combination of all of these, and which ones apply in the majority. Always assume it is a grizzly and avoid contact at all costs. A wild bear is dangerous regardless of the type, and should be left alone.