Kodiak Brown Bear Facts
- The Kodiak Bears are the largest bears in the world.
- Approximately 3,500 brown bears are in the archipelago. That’s 0.7 bears per square mile.
- Males weigh up to 1,500 pounds and stand over 10” tall.
- Males are called Boars.
- The oldest boar known was 27 years old.
- Female bears generally weigh 600-900 pounds.
- Females are called Sows.
- The oldest sow recorded was 34 years old.
- The average sow has a litter every 4 years. She gives birth in her den between January and February.
- They tend to leave their dens in April.
- Cubs generally leave their mother at 3-5 years old.
- Your best chances to seeing a famous Kodiak Brown Bear is to make plans to visit one of the local villages, or ask for a guided tour.
- July, August, and September are the best times to see a bear.
- Not all of the bears hibernate.
- Bears are more active during the day, unless tempted by food.
- They are not territorial.
- Bears are more aggressive in the late fall, than early spring.
- Their diets mainly consist of berries, grass, plants, and fish.
- These bears rarely hunt or kill other animals for food.
- One fatality has been reported on Kodiak Island for 75 years.
- About once every other year a bear injures a person. The bears migrated to the island from the main land during the little ice age 12,000 years ago. When the ice melted, they were trapped.
- Here is a helpful link on Bear Behavior.
Baleen whales are the largest sea mammals spotted in our waters. Other whales that promenade around our ocean include: Beluga, Fin, Bowhead, Killer (Orcas), Gray, and Humpback Whales. The best time to see one is from April-November. Your chances of seeing these whales are significantly better on a boat.
- Killer Whales (Orcas) are not whales, in fact they are dolphins.
- Different killer whale pods have their own dialect, and each orca can be distinguished from others by the size and shape of their dorsal fin.
- They have excellent vision in and out of water.
- Females can grow to 26 feet long, and carry a 3 foot dorsal fin.
- Males can grow to 28 feet with a 6 foot long dorsal fin.
- They have 48-52 teeth.
- “Free ranging killer whales have never been reported killing a human being.” Killer Whales-Alaska Department of Fish and Game website
- They can live up to 80 years old.
- Females are pregnant for 17 months, and are extremely protective of their young.
- Their pods consist of mothers, daughters, and sons and generally never leave their mother.
- They are excellent hunters, they eat big whales, fish, seals, sea lions, porpoises, squid and a wide range of other prey.
There are playful dall and white sided porpoises that love to glide and play at the bow of a boat. *If you stand at the bow of the boat and they see you, they like to show off, but if you ignore them, then they will leave.
The archipelago is home to over 238 bird species, over 2,500 bald eagles, and 1.5 million sea birds in the winter.
To learn more about our bird species and get a checklist, click “Wings over Alaska" from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.
Resources: Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA and Alaska State Parks. Picture of Kodiak Brown Bear Sitting, and Ducks Provided By Gloria Selby. Picture of the Three Bears, Bear on Trail, Orca and Whale Surfacing By Andy Christofferson. Picture of puffin in flight by Chris Badessa