Tom is a male European Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos) born in February 2011. Due to Tom’s digestive problems and a crooked front leg, he will live out his life here at the Sanctuary where he will receive everything he needs to have a happy and healthy life. After observing one of our volunteers watering the trees, Tom’s latest trick is to scoop the fruit out of a melon, dip it in his water, and throw it on the trees (and sometimes guests!) outside his enclosure.

The European Brown Bear has brown fur, which can range from yellow-brownish to dark brown, red brown, and almost black in some cases; and even albinism has been recorded. Their fur is dense to varying degrees and the can grow up to 4 inches in length. The shape of the bear’s head is normally quite round with relatively small, round ears, a wide skull and a mouth equipped with 42 teeth, including predatory teeth. European Brown Bears have a powerful bone structure, large paws, and are equipped with big claws which can grow up to 4 inches in length. Their weight varies depending on habitat and time of the year.

Brown Bears are not full hibernators; they enter a dormant state, and they can be awakened easily. They locate a den, such as a cave, crevice or hollow log, and stay their during the winter months while they are in dormancy. During dormancy, cubs are born blind, hairless, toothless and they weigh less than 1 pound. They will feed on their mother’s milk until spring, when they will weigh about 15-20 pounds. The cubs will remain with their mother for 2-4 years.

European Brown bears were present in Britain until around 500 AD when they were exterminated through hunting. They were also used in Ancient Rome for fighting in arenas. Today they are found across northern Eurasia.

The European Brown Bear is a European Protected Species and it has protection throughout the European Union.


European Brown Bear Statistics:

Body Length at shoulder 6.5 to 9.5 feet 40 inches tail: 2-8 inches
Weight Males: 580 – 780 lbs Females: 330 – 550 lbs
Gestation Period 235 days
Litter Size 1 – 4 cubs
Life Span 25 years in the wild
Status Least concern but populations are declining