Starling Travel

May 7, 2007

Know Your Bears

Filed under: Places To Visit — Michael Moncur @ 5:00 am

Bear (click for larger photo)

Laura and I saw some bears at Yellowstone the other day, and we posted a video and some pictures:

We thought these were black bears, but a couple of reader comments said they looked more like grizzlies. After doing a bit of research, I believe these were definitely grizzly bears. How can you tell the two apart?

  • Shoulders: Grizzly bears have a distinctive shoulder hump. Black bears have no hump.
  • Ears: Grizzly bears have small, “teddy bear” ears. Black bears have larger, more prominent ears.
  • Face: Grizzlies have a curved profile between their forehead and nose, while black bears have a straighter face.

Here’s where I found this information. Check out these sites and see if I’m right:

  • Get Bear Smart Society – Bear Facts – from a Canadian organization dedicated to reducing conflicts between humans and bears.
  • Bear Identification Program – Montana allows hunting of black bears but not grizzlies, so they require hunters to take a test proving they can tell the difference. They have an online training system that shows you the difference, a silly bear hunting game, and a test to see how well you know your bears. I scored 93%.

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