Average lifespan in the wild: 25 years
Size: 5 to 8 ft (1.5 to 2.5 m)
Weight: 700 lbs (318 kg)
Group name: Sloth or sleuth
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found in the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Where do bears live?
The bears are mostly found in the northern hemisphere, with a single species, the Andean Bear, occurring in South America. The Atlas Bear, a subspecies of the Brown Bear, was the only bear native to Africa. It was distributed in North Africa from Morocco to Libya, but has been extinct since around the 1870s. All the other species are found in North America, Asia and Europe. The most widespread species is the Brown Bear, which occurs from Western Europe eastwards through Asia to the western areas of North America. The American Black Bear is restricted to North America, and the Polar bear is restricted to the Arctic Sea. All the remaining species are Asian.
With the exception of the Polar Bear the bears are mostly forest species. Some species, particularly the Brown Bear, may inhabit or seasonally use other areas such as alpine scrub or tundra.
What do bears look like?
Common characteristics of modern bears include a large body with stocky legs, a long snout, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and a short tail. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous, with largely varied diets including both plants and animals.
What is special about the bear?
Bears are aided by an excellent sense of smell, and despite their heavy
build and awkward gait, they can run quickly and are adept climbers and
swimmers. In autumn some bear species forage large amounts of fermented fruits
which affects their behaviour. Bears use shelters such as caves and burrows as
their dens, which are occupied by most species during the winter for a long
period of sleep similar to hibernation.
How many types of bear are there?
The bear family has eight living species in it, including the polar bear, sloth bear and giant panda. They are most common in the northern hemisphere, and not found in Australia, Antarctica or most of Africa.
Do bears have a good sense of smell?
Bears have an excellent sense of smell, a better sense of smell in fact that the dogs , or possibly any mammal. This sense of smell is used for signalling between bears and for finding food. Smell is the principal sense used by bears to find most of their diet.
When are bears active?
While many people think that bears are nocturnal, they are in fact generally diurnal, active for the most part during the day. The belief that they are nocturnal apparently comes from the habits of bears that live near humans which engage in some activities, such as raiding trash cans or crops, are nocturnal in order to avoid humans. The sloth bear of Asia is the most nocturnal of the bears.
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Bear coloring pages
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