Kodiak Bears

Kodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) live on Kodiak Island or one of the nearby islands off the coast of southwestern Alaska. These bears can be nearly as large as polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and include the largest brown bears (Ursus arctos) on record. Sixteen of the twenty largest brown bears killed by hunters have come from the Kodiak Archipelago.

A large male can stand over 10 feet tall on his hind legs and 5 feet on all fours. A weight of 1,648 pounds was listed for one male in the Journal of Mammalogy. Females are about 20 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than males.

Brown bears, which include Kodiak bears, live in Europe, Asia, and North America. The 3 subspecies of brown bear that live in North America are Kodiak bears, coastal brown bears (Ursus arctos gyas), and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

In captivity, Kodiak bears can become even heavier than in the wild. The largest known Kodiak bear lived at the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, North Dakota. Named Clyde, he weighed 2130 pounds when he died in June 1987 at the age of 22. According to zoo director Terry Lincoln, Clyde probably weighed close to 2400 a year earlier He still had a fat layer of 9 inches when he died.

The longest lived brown bear on record was a female at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. She produced cubs through age 41 and was euthanized at 44.

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