The mighty grizzly bear evolved from the bear family. Grizzlies, or brown bears, are one of the largest North American mammals. In some areas, male grizzlies can reach weights up to 1800 pounds, but in the lower 48 states, they donít generally weigh more than 600 pounds. The grizzly has a hump of muscle on its shoulders, and thick shaggy fur that is sometimes tipped with silver ends. This fur can be a variety of colors: black, cinnamon, red, or blonde. The grizzly is not a climber. Instead, their claws are well adapted to digging for food, such as roots and rodents.
Grizzly bears have the most widespread distribution of any of the 8 bear species. They are found in North America and scattered across Eurasia. Although they once roamed over most of the western United States, they now live only in parts of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington. Larger populations exist in the Canadian Rockies and Alaska. The coniferous forests of the former USSR are believed to hold a large number of the worlds remaining grizzly bears. It is estimated there are currently somewhere between 125,000 and 150,000 grizzly bears left in the world. Grizzlies can be found in the mountain forests, open meadows, and river valley. There are probably less than 1,000 grizzlies left in the lower 48 states.