Telling a grizzly bear from a black bear can be a challenge because many physical indicators vary with sex and age, and size is also not a reliable indicator. Bear identification is important for your safety and to protect bears. When you know whether you are dealing with a grizzly or a black bear, you know something about the most appropriate actions to take.
Color and size can be misleading. Look for a combination of characteristics.
|Grizzly Bear||Black Bear|
|Color||Varies from blond to black||Varies from blond to black|
|Shoulder hump||Distinctive shoulder hump||No distinctive shoulder hump|
|Rump||Lower than shoulder hump||Higher than front shoulder|
|Face profile||Dished-in between eyes and snout||Straight|
|Ears||Short and rounded||Tall and pointed.|
|Front claws||2-4 inches long, slightly curved||Less than two inches long and curved|
|Tracks||Claw marks are usually visible in tracks||Claw marks are not usually visible in tracks|
For more information visit the Center for Wildlife Information Web site .