Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/298
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
almost white. The head is covered with short, brown hair; the ears are short, and the depression between the brow and the muzzle considerable. The head is much larger in proportion to the size of the body than in other bears; and its feet, also, with the single exception of the polar bear, in which there obtains a still larger proportion. His haunts are the Rocky Mountains and the plains eastward; he is also commonly found westward, and as far north as latitude 61°. His principal food is flesh; but fruits and other vegetable substances also form a part of his diet. The younger animals are tree-climbing, but the older are not, seemingly, from their great weight. The pregnant female and the young animals hibernate, but the full-grown males are as active in winter as at other seasons.
The grizzly is the most ferocious and terrible of all American animals. He exercises absolute terrorism over every living creature that comes in his way. It is said that even the hungry wolf will flee at the sight of his track, and no animal will venture to touch a deer that has been killed and left by him. His strength is such that, even the powerful bison falls an easy prey, and a single blow from one of his paws has been known to remove the entire scalp from a man's head. He is the only member of his family that will venture to attack man unchallenged, but it is said that he will retreat at the scent of a man, if he can do so unobserved. He has attributed to him a peculiar habit, of digging a pit for his fallen prey, in which he covers it over
with leaves and rubbish. Hunters, knowing this habit, have saved their lives in desperate cases by feigning death without wounding the bear, escape being made while the latter is continuing his ramble in search of other prey. He is so tenacious of life that, unless shot through the heart or brain, his body may be riddled with bullets without fatal effect. One which had received two bullets through his heart, besides eight in other parts of his body, survived more than twenty minutes, and swam half a mile. The grizzly is not easily tamed unless captured at a very tender age, but even then he is rough in habits and dangerous as a pet.