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Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Get special access to the Museum's vast collections on these exclusive tours! 
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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

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Brown bear

Ursus arctos (Linneaus, 1758)

Brown bear diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Brown bears (sometimes called grizzly bears) have long been considered the most dangerous animal in North America, although they usually avoid human contact and will not attack unless startled at close quarters. They have an excellent sense of smell, human-level hearing, but relatively poor eyesight.

Brown bears were persecuted extensively as predators of domestic livestock, especially cattle and sheep, although their actual impact on the livestock industry was probably negligible.

Biological Information

Range map for the brown bear


Northwestern North America


Open grassland, tundra, and lightly forested areas


Great plains grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) endangered; elsewhere threatened


Vegetation, grubs, rodents, and salmon; omnivorous in Canadian Rockies

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for brown bear.