Brown bear

At the Detroit Zoo
Brown bear Polly was rescued from a travelling circus and adopted by the Detroit Zoo in 2000. Due to her troubled roots, she is shy and is easily affected by change. Polly is very set in her ways and spends her days sticking to routine and eating ice treats and bones. When she likes her treats or toys, she tends to toss them up in the air. If you look closely, you can see a marking on her face that some say resembles an angel. Polly can be found in the bear dens south of the giraffes.

The brown bear has a large head, prominent shoulder hump and massive paws. The large hump on its back is packed with muscle and it has long sharp claws which makes this bear a perfect digging machine. Its coat can be brown, blonde or black. 

Scientific name: Ursus arctos
Continent: Asia, Europe, Middle East, North Africa and North America
Habitat: Temperate and coniferous forests, open fields, mountain highlands, tundra and arid regions
Size: 10 feet long; up to 4 feet at the shoulder
Weight: Males can be 300-1,200 pounds; females can be 175-550 pounds
Diet: The brown bear is an omnivore, feeding mostly on plant material with insects, fish and mammals.
Reproduction: Gestation six to nine months; one to four cubs
Lifespan: 22-27 years
Conservation Status: Least Concern 



 The brown bear hibernates in winter, preserving energy by reducing body temperature and heart rate.


The brown bear is the most widely dispersed bear species. It is able to adapt to a wide variety of habitats.


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*         Polly is one of our brown bears. She is a rescued bear from a small circus. She was placed in a small cage with a hamster-like wheel, where she rocked back and forth constantly. When several concerned citizens went to PETA, they got involved. They made an agreement with the owner to hand over the bear, and the Detroit Zoo adopted her in 2001.