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european brown bear


Their range used to cover almost all of Europe. They also occur in northern and central Asia, and in north America. The remaining European populations are mostly very small and isolated.


Their habitats are large forests as well as higher mountain regions, with few human habitations.

biological characteristics

The European brown bear is a close relative of the American grizzly bear and is of a similar size. Once common throughout classical and medieval Europe, the brown bear was found in the west country until the woods of Dartmoor were felled, possibly 3000 years ago. Today the brown bear is found in small pockets in Spain and Italy, with the largest populations remaining in the former Eastern Bloc countries such as Romania, with numbers still in the thousands. They have evolved into omnivores, eating a wide range of food from nuts, roots and berries to small animals and birds. In the wild, bears hibernate during the winter months and give birth during this time. However in captivity, bears stay awake the whole year round as they have a constant food supply.

conservation status

Threatened. Protected in Europe by Berne Convention 1984.


  • This species of bear is able to follow the scent of a rotting carcass for more than two miles.

  • Brown bears can live up to 30 years in the wild, though 20 - 25 is normal.

  • Adult males can weigh up to 860 pounds and the females up to 455 pounds.

  • Bears usually travel 2-3km a day foraging for food.

fact file

The word "lemur" comes from the word lemures, a Roman word for ghosts or spirits.