BROWN BEAR

The bears that inhabit central Russia weigh 400-500 kilos. The adult male species are approximately 1.6 times bigger than females. The animal’s body is hefty; the massive head has small ears and eyes. The tail is short (65-210 mm) and barely seen from under the bear’s fur. The strong five-toed plantigrade paws have massive non-retractable claws 8-10 cm long. The fur is thick and evenly colored.

The coloration of the brown bear is very changeable; the fur color varies from light-pale to bluish and even almost black. The brown is the most common color.

The typical feed is plant fodder. During spring and summer the grass prevails in the bear’s diet including bear’s onion, Siberian cow parsnip and horsetail. The bears shift from grass to berries following their ripening (black and red currant, blueberry, raspberry, cowberry, bird cherry, rowan berry). The favorite autumn food is pine nuts.

The animal nutrition is represented mostly by ants and their maggots. The bears also willingly eat fish and live near river branches for long periods of time. Sometimes the bears attack wild hoofed animals (elk, reindeer, Siberian red deer) and domestic animals. Less frequently they attack horses, sheep and pigs. The bear readily eats carrion.
The cases of attacks on humans are rare and mostly associated with rogue bears or during years when there is very poor yield of berries and nuts.

The bear is very common and, in certain regions, very numerous animal in Siberia. It populates all the Siberian territory up to the north where forest vegetation ends. The bears live in forest-tundra (even the northern one) where they make their lairs. The lairs are arranged in dry places, usually it is a hole protected by wind break or rooted up trees. Less frequently bears dig the lair in the ground or settle themselves in caves or splits of rocks. The bears have their favorite winter quarters where they gather every year from a large area.

The reproductive age of the animals starts at 4-5 years. 1-3 cubs are born in a lair in February. A she-bear feeds its cubs with milk until they are six month old. The bears leave their lairs in late April-May while they settle in the lairs in the first half of October. Hibernation time in northern regions is about seven months. During the first (and sometimes the second) winter the cubs go to sleep together with their mother. The change of coat takes place from June till August.