Sense of Life

Page 2 of 7

Bison Banquet

photo: Three bears feeding on dead bison

Photo: Craighead Wildlife-Wildland Institute


  • Most recent carnivore to evolve (Ursidae): 40 million years
  • Distant cousin of dogs (Canidae)

Size (Adult Male Grizzly in Montana)

  • Length, 8 feet
  • Average weight, 350 to 700 pounds
  • Forepaws 5 feet long, 6 feet wide; hind paws 10 feet long, 6 feet wide; claws, 4 feet
  • Hump is a mass of muscles for power digging, striking with forepaws


  • Possibly equal to human vision
  • Nearsighted, to see food at ground level
  • Eyes directed forward; doesn't need to worry about predators
  • Can distinguish colors, though do not see them as humans do
  • Good peripheral vision


  • Fair to moderately good (for a wild animal)
  • Far more sensitive than human hearing, in order to locate movements of rodents underground
  • Can hear human conversation from 300 meters (that's 328 yards, or more than 3 football fields away)