Grizzly Bear Poop: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: September 3, 2022
© Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com
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Are you planning to go camping and wonder whether you should be worried about grizzly bears? No worries, we’ll tell you everything you need to know, including where grizzlies live, what they eat, and what their poop looks like! Being able to distinguish their droppings from other animals’ droppings is essential knowledge during camping! 

Besides being an important factor in locating grizzly territory, did you know that their poop was the subject of a major research paper on a grizzly bear diet? We promise you that this article is full of surprises!

What are grizzly bears?

Roaring Bear - Bear Teeth
Grizzly bears are a subspecies of brown bears that live in North America.

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Grizzly bears are often called North American brown bears. They are a subspecies of brown bears that live in North America. Female grizzlies weigh approximately 290-400 pounds. However, some females, mainly those living in the Yukon River area, can weigh as little as 220 pounds. Males are much larger, with an average weight of 400-790 pounds. They are approximately 6.50 feet long and have an average shoulder height of 3.35 feet. 

Grizzly bears have a muscular hump on their shoulders. They have short, rounded ears, a rump lower than their shoulders, and 2-4-inch-long front claws. These animals are usually brown. Their legs are of a darker shade, while their flanks and backs are white or blond. 

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Grizzlies live in Alaska, western Canada, northwestern United States, and Mexico on the North American continent. In the U.S., you may stumble upon these brown bear subspecies in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming. North America hosts approximately 55,000 grizzly bears, and more than half (about 30,000) live in Alaska. 

What do grizzly bears eat?

What Do Grizzly Bears Eat
Grizzly bears eat both animals and plants.

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Grizzly bears are omnivorous animals. They eat both animals and plants. Although people are frightened by bears, 90% of their diet consists of vegetation! This highly depends on the season, however. These bears can eat as much as 90 pounds of food a day! Grizzlies can eat 200,000 berries and 40,000 moths per day!

Here’s a list of what grizzly bears eat:

  • Grass
  • Pine seeds
  • Nuts
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Roots
  • Flowers
  • Garbage
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Rodents
  • Moths
  • Carrion
  • Salmon
  • Puffballs
  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Caribou
  • Bison
  • Mountain goats

As you can see, a grizzly bear’s diet is extremely varied. Obviously, humans aren’t on their diet, which is why they don’t attack people if they don’t feel threatened. They only attack humans if they’re surprised or if they protect baby bears or their food. 

A study based on 665 feces collected from 18 grizzlies showed the following results:

  • During early spring, grizzlies feed on roots.
  • From late May to early June, they hunt ungulates.
  • Starting from early to mid-June, grizzlies eat graminoids and forbs.
  • Starting from late summer, grizzlies switch to frugivores (animals that primarily consume raw fruits or succulent substances produced by nuts, seeds, or roots).
  • As winter gets closer, grizzlies go back to eating roots.

What does the grizzly bear poop look like?

Depending on what the grizzly bear eats, its waste can contain vegetation, berries, remains from its prey, and parts of cutworms.

©iStock.com/Uwe-Bergwitz

The shape, texture, color, and size of grizzly bear poop highly depend on the animal’s diet. If the bear consumes plants, the poop will have lighter shades of brown and green. It will be fibrous, long, and round – in short, sausage-like. If the animal eats berries, its waste will be cylindrical. When the grizzly bear starts feeding on meat, its excrements become dark brown or black, smelly, and wet.

Depending on what the grizzly bear eats, its waste can contain vegetation, berries, remains from its prey, and parts of cutworms. Grizzly bear droppings can reach 2-4 inches in diameter and 5-12 inches in length.

How to identify grizzly bear poop among other animals’ poop

If you’re going camping in the wild, it’s extremely important to gather all the information that can help you avoid wild animals that can threaten you and your family. It’s highly recommended to stay away from grizzly bears. Checking the droppings you stumble upon may help you remain in safe places. Here’s how you can distinguish grizzly bear poop among other animals’ droppings!

Grizzly bear poop vs. black bear poop

Grizzly bear and black bear scat are very similar; sometimes, it’s difficult to tell them apart. Here are some things to consider. 

The most important distinction is that black bear poop is usually 2 inches smaller than grizzly bear poop. The black bear scat has a blunt end, a cylindrical shape, and a slight taper. 

Grizzly bear poop vs. cow poop

Grizzly bear poop may look similar to cow poop when the animal eats berries. In this case, its excrement will have a globular form, just like that of cows. 

Grizzly bear poop vs. dog poop

Grizzly bear poop is larger than dog poop. Dog waste is usually less than 1-inch in diameter. Moreover, dog waste has a strong smell, unlike grizzly bear droppings (except when they feed on meat).

Grizzly bear poop vs. cougar poop

Cougar poop is considerably smaller than grizzly bear poop. It’s 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Besides, it doesn’t have a cylindrical form. It consists rather of segmented droppings narrow on one end and blunt on the other. 

Grizzly bear poop vs. coyote poop

Coyote poop may be smaller than grizzly bear poop, measuring 3 to 5 inches long. Its form is also tubular, but it has a twisted end. Coyote poop can contain fur or bones. 

Grizzly bear poop vs. bobcat poop

Grizzly bear poop is considerably larger than bobcat poop, which is usually 3-5 inches long and 0.5-1 inch in diameter. Unlike grizzly bear waste, bobcat excrements are very dense. 

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What do grizzly bears eat - grizzly bear cubs
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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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