Ursus arctos middendorffi
The Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) is a subspecies of brown bears (Ursus arctos), and the largest of all the bears in the world. Most bears, including the Kodiak, are typically solitary animals. The only exception is during salmon spawning when bears gather to feed on salmon and during mating season. It has been observed that the Brown Bear species have a short temper and can become aggressively fierce if hungry, surprised or if their young are in danger. This characteristic is noted in one of the oldest manuals in existence.
For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. 2_Samuel 17:8 (KJV)
AnatomyThe Kodiak bear is an endothermic (warm-blooded) and heterotroph (an organism that depends upon other organisms for food) mammal.  Although some report they can get as tall as 14 feet, there is no verifiable documentation. They have large heads, bulky bodies, and thick fur. They can run short distances at about 30 to 35 miles per hour enabling them to run down elk and deer. They have long huge non-retractile claws for digging and tearing prey. It is believed that because of the large, rich abundant food source that the Brown Bears and especially the Kodiak bear are the largest of all the bears in the world. They are omnivores eating both plants and animals. Also, they have good hearing and excellent smelling but have poor eye sight.
At about the age of 5, the Kodiak female bear becomes sexually mature and are able to have young. The female Kodiak bear often gives birth to a litter of 2 or 3 cubs about every 3 to 4 years. From May to June is the breeding season for bears. During the breading season, the adult male and female stay together for about 2 to 15 days. After the egg is fertilized and starts dividing it stops and begins dividing again in October or November. During January to March, the cubs are born. They are born with their eyes closed, with little or no hair, and weigh less than a pound. One of the unusual facts is that the proportion of the adult female bear to the new born cub is the smallest of all mammals. The mother and cubs may stay in the dens for several mouths suckling and developing. They weigh about 15-20 pounds when they emerge form the den in May or June. For 3 or 5 years the cubs may stay with there mother before going out on there own. About 25% of the cubs are eaten by adult male bears before they leave their mother. Also, it is a fact that when the young bears leave their mother at the age of 3 to 5, they have a high death rate.
Ecology Because of there large numbers, the density is about 0.7 bears per square mile. It is thought that bears spend much of the winter in a state similar to sleeping. The Kodiak bear's winter sleep is an example of hibernation. However, it is not considered a true hibernation. The Kodiak body temperature, unlike other hibernating mammals does not drop greatly during it's winter sleep. Furthermore, it can be awakened easily and become active on mild winter days. They spend three to four months of every winter, from November to March asleep in their dens. Although the Kodiak bear eats grass and other animals, its main source of protein is the spawning salmon.
- Kodiak Bear Wikipedia
- Kodiak Bear Fact Sheet By Larry Van Daele, ADF&G-Division of Wildlife Conservation
- Brown Bear Wikipedia
- Animal fact sheets Brown Bear, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle