Tom is a male European Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos) born in February 2011. Tom came to the Foundation because he had digestive problems and a crooked front leg. With physical therapy, his leg is now straight and with a specialized nutrition plan he no longer has any digestive issues. After observing our volunteers watering the trees, Tom has started scooping the fruit out of a melon, dipping it in his water, and throwing it on the trees and sometimes guests.

European brown bears, also known as the Eurasian brown bear, have a powerful bone structure, large paws, and are equipped with big claws which can grow up to 4 inches in length. Depending on their habitat, their fur color can vary from yellowish-brown to dark brown, red brown, and almost black in some cases. They have very dense fur which can grow up to 4 inches in length. European brown bears have a large hump of muscle on their shoulders similar to the grizzly bear. European brown bears are also incredibly intelligent and clever. They are capable of opening screw-top jars and manipulating door latches. They are also very strong and have been known to flip over flat-shaped rocks weighing up to 325 pounds with a single forelimb.

Brown bears were once classified as not true hibernators; however, now they are considered highly efficient hibernators because it was discovered that they possess the ability to change their metabolism and remain dormant for months. Brown bears typically hibernate in cold weather conditions and when food is scarce. Depending on the climate, brown bears will enter their dens in October and November and typically hibernate for three to eight months, but they remain somewhat alert and active during this time.

European brown bears are found across northern Eurasia. They are extinct in Ireland and Britain but they still live in Northern Europe and Russia. The European brown bear lives in large forests as well as higher mountain regions. Even though the European brown bear is a protected species in most European countries they still suffer from poaching; however, the major threat to the European brown bear is habitat destruction.

Trivia: Unlike many mammals, bears can see in color.

 

European Brown Bear Statistics:

Body Length at shoulder 6 – 9.8 ft long, 3 – 4 ft tall
Weight Males 500 – 800 lbs, Females 250 – 550 lbs
Gestation Period 235 days
Litter Size 1 – 4 cubs
Life Span 25 years in the wild, up to 40 years in captivity
Status Least Concern