Kodiak Bears - Largest of the Land
The Kodiak Archipelago, an island south of Alaska, is the one place where people can
observe the largest land predator in native habitat. The Kodiak bear has lived peacefully, separated from other
land for more than ten thousand years. It is a subspecies of the large grizzly bear. The Kodiaks migrated to the
Kodiak area and were isolated from other land when warmer temperatures and rising sea levels isolated the Kodiak
They are the largest land predator rivaled only by polar bears. Kodiaks posses thick layer
of brown fur and look very similar to the grizzly. The male typically weight over 1,000 pounds and females are
smaller weighing 600 to 900 pounds. At full height the Kodiak is over ten feet tall. Despite their large size and
predatory nature, the bears are not known to attack the many people residing on the archipelago.
Kodiak bears are actually omnivorous and eat a variety of meat and vegetation. It is an
intelligent feeder that maximizes whatever food is found each day. A good example of the feeding habits is the
Kodiak eats internal organs first favoring the high caloric intake. The same is true for vegetation. Kodiaks tend
to eat berries and other fruits when they are ripe and sweet. One reason for this adaptation is that these bears
only feed six months during the year. They must build storage before entering a state of hibernation. The
metabolism is a mystery since Kodiaks lose very little weight and muscle during the six months they do not
They are not territorial. However, most Kodiak will stay isolated in a small area.
Although they are solitary animals, it is not unusual to see many together at the streams for a fine catch of
salmon. It is a favored meal. This fact alone has caused the Kodiaks to develop a unique language using body
gestures and vocal sounds. Communications fend off aggressive actions of other bears while hunting.
Bears mate in the summer and give birth to two or three cubs in January during
hibernation. The cubs stay with the mother for up to three years before she is ready to mate again. Female bears
mate every four years. Cubs become mature when they are five years old and ready to begin their own family. The
male only mates with a single female each year but does not help raise the cubs.
Kodiaks bears have been successful living in their isolated habitat. Although there are
only 3,500 animals, the population is maintained in the small isolated living area. They prefer to be left alone
and can be safely observed from a distance. They have lived peacefully with people on the Kodiak archipelago for
thousands of years.