The fur of the Russian brown bear ranges from yellowish-brown to dark brown, red-brown, and almost black in some cases. Albinos have also been recorded. The fur can be up to 4” in length. Their head is round with a wide skull, and with relatively small ears and eyes. They have powerful bone structure with large paws with claws that can grow up to 4” in length. Their weight varies depending on habitat and time of year. They are sexually dimorphic, which means the difference in appearance between males and females of the same species. This includes color, shape, size, and structure. These differences may be extreme, as in the vibrant colors of male birds and the exotic tails of the male peacock. A full grown Russian brown bear weighs between 550 & 650 lbs., females being smaller at 330 to 550 lbs.
They are found across Eurasia, in northern Europe and Russia, Spain, Scandinavia and Asia. They are omnivores, and opportunistic, eating anything nutritious that they can find, gorging on nuts, fruit, leaves, fungi, roots, insects, fish, rodents, sheep and elk. Their diet varies depending on what foods are available for the season.
Russian brown bears are solitary by nature, with females living longer than the males due to their “less dangerous” life, avoiding seasonal breeding fights that males engage in. Mothers are fiercely protective of their cubs, who stay with her for 2-3 years.
Meet our Residents
- Russian brown bears were used in Ancient Rome for fighting in arenas.
- Russian brown bears are commonly seen in zoos; formerly they were often trained to move rhythmically to music—the so-called dancing bears of European carnivals and festivals.
- In ancient times, they were largely carnivorous with 80% of their diet consisting of animal matter. When their habitat increasingly disappeared, they adapted, and now only 10% to 15% of their diet consists of animal matter!
Status In The Wild
As of 2006 they were listed as of Least Concern, but the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species refers to the global species, not to the Eurasian brown bear specifically, and local populations are becoming increasingly scarce. The IUCN states: “Least Concern does not always mean that species are not at risk. There are declining species that are evaluated as Least Concern”. They once roamed most of Europe and Asia; however, the animal’s southern range has been significantly reduced.