About bears

The bear is mainland Norway’s largest predator and the second-largest mammal living in forests. Only the moose is larger. On these pages, you can learn all about the big brown bruin!

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.
Foto: Roger Brendhagen.

Bear facts

Latin: Ursus arctos.
Family: Bear family (Ursidea)
Length: 140 – 280 cm. 
Weight: 60 – 300 kg. 
Breeding season: Spring and summer. 
Number of young: 1 – 3. 
Life span: Up to 30 years. 

Download bear factsheet

Bear tracks

Bear tracks are large with marks made by five toes and long claws. The back paw is reminiscent of a human foot, while the front paw is slightly shorter. The largest toe is on the outside of the footprint, so the opposite to us!

How does the bear live?

The bear is a solitary animal, meaning that it lives alone. The exception is when the female has cubs, of course. Then she will live with her cubs for two or three years. This is quite a long time compared with other animals. Male bears live a more solitary life and largely meet other bears only in the breeding season.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.
Foto: Roger Brendhagen.

What does the bear eat?

The bear is an omnivore. This means that it eats both plants and meat. It eats a lot of ants and other insects. Herbs and grass are important in early summer, but blueberries are the main item on the menu in autumn! The bear is a predator, so it also eats other animals. It likes to eat any dead animals it finds, but is also quite capable of hunting for itself. Easy prey is preferred.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.
Foto: Roger Brendhagen.

Where does the bear live?

The bear is a forest animal. In Norway, it lives along the border with our neighbouring countries, Sweden, Finland and Russia. This is because the bear has returned here from those countries after we nearly drove the bears in Norway to extinction.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.

How many bears do we have?

Today, we have about 150 bears in Norway. That is not very many compared with Sweden, which has around 2,500 bears. Actually, Norway used to have more bears than Sweden.

Bjørnebinne med to unger, Ozon, Krononsky Naturreservat, Kamtsjatka, Russland, sept. 03
Foto: Roger Brendhagen.

Are bears dangerous?

Among the four large carnivores, it is the bear that people say they would be most afraid of meeting. This is probably because bears are so big. It is quite difficult to meet a bear, as they prefer to stay away from people. If you should meet one all the same, you can quite simply talk to it so that it becomes aware of you. That will give the bear a chance to get away, as they are generally afraid of humans.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.

Was it a bear?

Most of us never get to see a bear, but it is not unusual to find traces of one. Learn how to recognise bear droppings and bear tracks.

Bjørnespor, Kamtsjatka, Russland sept. 2002
Bjørnemøkk. Ekskrementhaug etter bjørn som har spist blåbær og Krekling om høsten. sarek, Nord-Sverige sept. 1997

About the bears winter dormancy

During winter, the bear sleeps it's deep wintersleep in it's den, but what den does it choose? And how long exactly does the bear sleep in it's den?

Hi brukt av en stor hannbjørn. Utgravd i ei gammel maurtue. Dalarna, Sverige april 1993.