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Black Bears - Related Animals

Polar Bear - Ursus maritimus

Distribution - Arctic and subarctic regions of Canada, the United States, the Soviet Union, Norway and Greenland

Coloration - creamy white in the winter, yellowish white in the summer

Physical Traits - sharp teeth and refined claws for catching prey

average length of 9 feet, largest ever recorded was 12 feet in length

longer neck and smaller heads than most bears, fur padding on soles of feet for traction and insulation

forepaws can be up to 12 inches in diameter and are webbed to aid in swimming and treading water

can run for short bursts as fast as 25 miles per hour

have exceptional eyesight and hearing and are able to smell a whale or seal carcass from 20 miles away

Weight - females stop growing at four years and weigh around 700 lbs. Males continue developing until they are eight years old and weigh 1400 lbs

Black Bears - Related Animals

Moon Bear - Selenarctos thibetanus *An endangered species

Distribution - the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, northern Pakistan and the southern Soviet Union, Manchuria, China, Bangladesh, India,Laos, Taiwan and Japan

Coloration - glossy black or dark brown with a white, yellow or orange-yellow crescent shaped marking on it's chest

Physical Traits - hair grows longer when more food is available, a mane around the shoulders is a sign of a plentiful diet

blunt head and wideset rounded ears short claws adapted for climbing and slender legs

average length is 6 feet and 250 lbs for a boar

What it Eats -insects, fruit, cherries, nuts and berries

sheep, goats and cattle are occasionally eaten

Sun Bear - Helarctos malayanus *An endangered species

Distribution - India, Burma, southern China, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra

Coloration - black with white or yellow chest markings

Physical Traits - short, flat head with an orange or gray muzzle

small, rounded ears and beady eyes

long spindly legs and long claws for scaling trees

What it Eats - mushrooms, insects, fruit and honey

lizards and small rodents

Black Bears - Related Animals

Sloth Bear - Melursus ursinus *An endangered species

Distribution - India, Sri Lanka and parts of Nepal

Coloration -shaggy, black fur with yellow or white "y" or "v" shaped markings

Physical Traits - rarely grows to more than 250 lbs and a bit less than 6 feet

"mane" around the shoulders making it appear larger than it really is

bare belly and under legs to keep it cool in warmer climates

ivory claws that are 3 inches long, blunt and curved

muzzle that can be from dirty white to gray

protruding lips, nostrils that can be opened and closed

no front teeth and only a few molars

What it Eats - ants, termites, honey, berries

corn, yams, sugarcane, other animals' forgotten prey

Black Bears - Related Animals

Spectacled Bear - Tremarctos ornatus *An endangered species

Coloration - shaggy, black coat, chest markings and lines encircling it's eyes that are white, yellow or even light red

Distribution - Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia

Physical Traits - adults weigh between 175 and 275 lbs and grow to be approximately 6 feet long, males are usually 1/4 to 1/3 larger than the females

has a 3 inch tail and stands 2.5 feet at the shoulder

powerful jaws for cracking nuts and eating tough meat

What it Eats - fruit, corn, honey, sugarcane, nuts, cactus,

ants, mice, birds, rabbits, llamas, cattle

Giant Panda - Ailuropoda melanoleuca *An endangered species

Coloration - thick, white fur with black ears, eye patches, shoulders, chests and limbs

Distribution -Tibet, China and Burma

Physical Traits -adults weigh between 200 and 230 lbs and are 6 feet in length, females are generally 15% smaller than the males

massive skulls and 42 powerful teeth used for crushing bamboo shoots, feline-like slit eyes and no heel pads on their hind paws

extra moveable , bony pads on the thumb, creating a "sixth digit"

spiky lining on the esophagus to handle bamboo splinters

What it Eats - bamboo, grasses, flowers, fir bark

small mammals, birds, eggs, fish

Black Bears - Other Interesting Information

?Bears are great climbers despite their size and appearance. Diminishing amounts of chestnuts in the United States helped to prove this. At one time black Bears living in the States consumed large amounts of chestnuts. When there was a shortage of chestnuts, these bears were forced to turn to acorns as a substitute. Their skill in scaling the tall oak trees dispelled the myth that they were clumsy animals.

?The Teddy Bear is named after American president Theodore Roosevelt. On a hunting trip he refused to shoot a cub that crossed his path and was made fun of. A toy maker, Morris Michtom, created the first stuffed bear and got permission to use the president's nickname.

?Bears are not born blind. When the cubs are born their eyelids are still closed and they do not open until the cub is 40 days old. That has led to the belief that bear cubs are born without the ability to see.

?Bears are not the thinnest after coming out of their dens. Although the bears have lost 15 to 20% of their autumn weight by spring, they will usually continue to lose weight for the next two or three months, until berry crops provide rich food sources.

?The bear prefers fresh meat to rotten meat, but will eat kill that isn't too old. If it approaches an animal that has been dead for awhile, the bear would eat only the freshest parts and leave the rest behind.

?North American Indian hunters apologize to the bear after killing it, give it a long list of needs to justify it's death and then perform a complicated ritual to release it's spirit.

?Inuit bear hunters have a touching ritual that they perform after killing a polar bear. They will take snow and melt it in their mouths and then drip it into the polar bear's jaws. This is to quench the bear's legendary thirst.

?West Coast Indians have legends about "ghost bears". These legends are based on the Kermode bear, a sub-species of black bear. It's fur is white or yellowish-white.

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