Read an Excerpt
This group includes the largest terrestrial carnivores in the world. All are heavy-bodied, large-headed animals, with short ears and small tails. Their sense of smell is keen, though eyesight is generally poor. Key places to view vears are listed in the section on natural attractions.
Brown Bear, Ursus arctos
Size: 6-9 ft. (1.8-2.7 m)
Description: Distinguished by its large size, prominent shoulder hump and huge feet with prominent claws.
Habitat: Open habitats and forested areas throughout most of the state excluding the southeasternmost islands.
Comments: Three subspecies of brown bear are found in Alaska. One group lives in coastal areas and feeds primarily on salmon. A second group (often called 'grizzlies') are found in inland and northern habitats; these are typically smaller since they have less protein in their diet. A third group found on Kodiak Osland are classified as a separate subspecies since they are physically isolated. The huge Kodiak Island brown bears are considered the largest land carnivores in the world. Though the polar bear (U. maritimus) is larger still, it is considered a marine mammal.