What Are the Differences Between a Black Bear and a Grizzly Bear?


Quick Answer

The main differences between a black bear and a grizzly bear are in the size of the shoulders, the shape of the face and the length of the claws. Grizzly bears have a distinct shoulder hump that black bears don't have. Grizzly bears also have a concave-shaped facial structure, smaller ears and larger claws, while black bears have a flatter face, larger ears and smaller claws.

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Full Answer

Both black bears and grizzly bears range in color and can be found in varying shades between black and blond. Grizzlies are generally much larger than black bears, but size is not a reliable indicator. Some grizzly bears can weigh as little as 250 pounds, and some black bears can weigh up to 800 pounds.

The Palmisciano Line Method can also be used to identify black bears and grizzly bears by the shape of their tracks. This method works by drawing a line from the lowest point of the big toe and the highest point of the edge of the palm pad. The line should be extended to the end of the track. If more than 50 percent of the small toe is above the line, the tracks belong to a grizzly bear. If the opposite, then the tracks are from a black bear.

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