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    Types of Bears/ Species of bear/ Bear species/ Eight types of bears are found in the world. Among the eight bear species, six are listed as endangered

    Types of Bears

    Types of Bears

    Bear is an omnivorous animal, living across the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. They are found in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Eight types of bears are found in the world. Among the eight types of bears, Polar bear is mostly carnivore where as Giant Panda is mostly herbivore. The eight types of bears belong to family Ursidae. Among the eight bear species, six are listed as endangered by the IUCN.

    What Do Bears Eat

    The eight types of bears are as follows:

    1.   North American Black Bear

    2.   Brown Bear

    3.   Polar Bear

    4.   Asiatic Black Bear

    5.   Andean Bear

    6.   Panda Bear

    7.   Sloth Bear

    8.   Sun Bear

    American Black Bear

    American Black Bear is native to North America and the scientific name is “Ursus americanus”. This omnivorous mammal live in the forested areas as well as swamp and mountains, but sometimes the come close to the human communities to get food. The sixteen subspecies of American Black Bear are found on the earth.

    Their body is covered with soft, long shaggy fur. The color of their fur will be bluish-black, light brown, jet black, dark chocolate, brown, cinnamon and also white. Albino individuals also be founded.  American Black Bears can grow up to 5ft to 6ft and weight can reach 200 pounds to 600 pounds. They have excellent eyesight and can distinguish different shapes and sizes. This type of bears has broad skull, large jaw hinge and narrow muzzles, small rounded ears. Their short claws are sharply curved. Their black soles of feet are leathery, nacked and wrinkled. The length of their tail is usually 4.5 inches to 5 inches long.

    American Black Bears have extremely good sense of smell, about 7 times more than a dog. As American Black Bear is very good swimmer, they swim for catching fish or only for pleasure. They are also very good climbers and climb the trees regularly to eat fruits, leaves or beehive as well as escaping from predators.  American Black Bears are basically nocturnal but also active in the daytime. American Black Bears produce various vocal and non-vocal sounds to communicate such as grunting, moan, lip-popping, tongue-clicking etc. They also mark on the trees with their sharp claws or teeth to communicate with other bears.  American Black Bears also mark their territories by marking trees.

    Generally American black bears eat roots, bulbs, tubers, grass, fruits and other vegetation. Huckleberries and buffalo berries become their important diet during the fall period. American black bears also eat insects like yellow jackets, ants, bees and their larvae, and birds and also fish like salmon.

    The breeding period of the American Black Bears is occurring from June to August. After 235 days of gestation period, the female bear gives birth of one to six cubs, but normally 2 to 3 cubs, weighing 250g to 450gm. The blind cubs open their eyes after 30 to 40 days. The cubs feed on their mother’s milk for 30 days. At the age of 5, they become fully grown. American Black Bears can live 18 to 20 years in the wild.

    Where Do Polar Bears Live

    Brown Bear

    Brown Bear is a large species of bear and most widely distributed species and their scientific name is “Ursus arctos” . Brown Bears live in Asia, North America and Europe. They are frond in the forested areas and as well as mountain. The Brown Bear living in North America, is called Grizzly bear. The largest Brown Bear lives in Kodiak Island of Alaska, known as Kodiak brown bear. 

    Their body is covered with long, thick fur. Different subspecies have different color of fur. North American grizzly bear is dark brown to yellowish brown with darker-colored legs. Asian Brown bear is reddish color. The average height of the Brown bear is 5ft to 9ft and the average weight will be 700 pounds to 900 pounds. Their long, curved claws are 5cm to 6cm long. They do not climb the trees because of their excessive weight. This type of bears very powerful and 2.5 to 5 times stronger than humans. Only Brown bear has a hump at the top of their shoulder, made up of muscle.

    Brown Bear is normally nocturnal, solitary animal. In spring, they doubled their weight by storing up to 180kg of fat which is used in winter hibernation when they become very lethargic. This time, they do not hibernate completely and can wake up when needed. In winter, they take shelter in the cave, hollow logs, crevice etc., in which they can adjust their huge body. Brown Bears produce several sounds to communicate, including huffing, woofing, growls, roaring etc.

    Their breeding season starts from May to July. Female brown bears reach sexual maturity at 4 to 8 years of age. After 180 to 250 of gestation period, female Brown bear gives birth 2 to 3 cubs. The blind, hairless newborn cubs are weighing 350g to 650g and fully depended on mother’s milk. When the cubs are 3 months old, their weight can reach up to 15kg. Mother bear raise her cubs but male bear does not contribute to raising the cubs.

    Brown bear is an omnivorous animal and take the greatest variety of food items than any other bear species. Most brown bears are primarily herbivorous and get 90% of their food energy from vegetation. Brown bears consume variety of seasonal vegetation like leaves, fruits, nuts, roots, grass, pine cones flowers, berries, mushrooms etc. As Brown bears are omnivorous their diet also consists of smaller mammals like marmots, mice, voles, ground squirrels, rats etc. as well as elk, wild boar, moose, bighorn sheep, caribou, mountain goats and also carrion.

    Approximately 200,000 Brown bears are living in the world and about the largest number of brown bears are found in Russia, about 120,000. In the wild, Brown bear can live for 20 years to 30 years. In captivity, the Brown Bears may live up to 40 years.

    Where Do Pandas Live

    Polar Bear

    Polar Bear, the largest species of bear, native to Arctic Circle and their scientific name is “Ursus maritimus”. The weight of the adult male Polar bear is 360kg to 700kg and the female is about half of the male. There are 19 recognized Polar bear subspecies are found. Polar bear is considered as a marine mammal because of spending many months in the sea water.

    Their body length is about 8 feet. Their body is covered with two layers of fur, one is inner layer and another is outer layer. The outer layer of guard layers is white to tan in color but actually the hairs are transparent. The color of their white coat becomes yellowish with age. The color of their skin under their fur is black in color. Under their hide and fur, they have 10cm thick fat that helps them to keep their body warm.

    Polar bear’s extremely well-developed sense of smell helps them to locate the seals which are nearly 1.6km away and 1m under the snow. Their eyesight is also very good. They have the shortest tail among the bear species, about 7inches to 14 inches in length. Their large feet help them to walk on the thin ice on snow. Their thick body fat and water-repellent coat insulate the Polar bear from the cold water and air. Their swimming speed is 10km/hr. The color of the Polar bear eyes is brown and have 3 eyelids. Their third eyelid is called nictitating membrane which protect their eyes, when they swim under water. The color of their tongue is black or blue because of well supplied blood.

    Polar bear is native to Arctic Circle and exclusively carnivorous bear species. Their main food is bearded seals. Adult Polar bear eat only the blubber and skin of the seals which are highly digestible and provide them high calories. The young Polar bears also consume carcasses. Polar bear also hunt harbor seal, harp seal or hooded seal.

    Polar bears are polygynous. Their mating season started on April or May and their mating take place on the sea ice. Female Polar bear makes a maternity den on the sea ice. Female gives birth two cubs between November and February. The weight of the newborn cubs is around 0.9kg with light colored fur. The cubs and their mother stay in the den from mid-February to mid-April. This time period, cubs depend on mother’s fat-rich milk. When the weight of cubs reaches 10kg to 15kg, mother breaks open the entrance of the den and come out from the den. When they reach 30 months of age, they leave their mother. Polar bears losing their habitat due to global warming and climate change, so they are listed as a vulnerable species. In the wild they can live around 25 to 30 years. Approximately 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears are surviving on the earth.

    Effects of Deforestation

    Asiatic Black Bear

    Asiatic Black bear or Asian Black bear is native to Asia. They are found in southeastern Iran, in the Himalayas, Honshu and Shikoku, northern India, Afghanistan, Sikkim, Bhutan Pakistan, Nepal, China, Myanmar and also southeastern Russia.

    Their body is covered with black fur and have V-shaped white patch on their chest. The average length of the Asiatic Black bear is between 130cm to 190cm. The weight of the male Asiatic Black bear can reach up to 200kg while female is 125kg. The length of their tail is around 12cm long. Their ears are longer than other bear species. They becomes more active during day time. They do not hibernate but the population living in the colder northern range, may hibernate. Pregnant female Asiatic Black bears hibernate and made their hibernation dens in October and sleep from November to March. The females make their dens in the hollow logs, caves, holes in the ground, or mountain slopes.

    Asiatic Black bears communicate with different sounds such as roar, grunt, hiss or whine. Seven subspecies of Asiatic Black bear are found in different areas. Asiatic Black bears have no good eyesight and sense of hearing but have very good sense of smell.

    The breeding season of the Asiatic Black bears is in June or July. When the female Asiatic Black bear is 4 to 5 years old, they become sexually mature. After 200 to 240 days of gestation period, female Asiatic Black bear gives birth one or two cubs between November and March. The weight of blind newborn cubs is 360 grams. After 3 days, the cubs open their eyes The cubs leave their mother at the age of 12 to 18 months. The Asiatic Black bears are often killed by the tigers, leopards, packs of dholes or wolves. But their main enemies are humans. In wild Asiatic Black bear can live up to 30 years. In the wild, Asiatic Black bear can live up to 25 years and in captivity, they can live up to 44 years.

    Deforestation and illegal hunting for their body parts, are the main causes of to decrease their numbers. By the IUCN, Asiatic Black bear is classified as vulnerable

    Andean Bear

    Andean Bear or the Spectacled bear is a mid-sized bear species, native to South America. The scientific name of the Andean Bear is “Tremarctos ornatus”.

    Their body is covered with black, jet black, dark brown or reddish shaggy fur. Andean Bear or the Spectacled bear gets its common name for tan colored rings around its eyes, that seems large eyeglasses. The average weight of the male Andean Bear is 100kg to 200kg and the female is 35kg to 80kg.

      Andean Bear is the smallest bear species of the Ursidae family. The average body length of the Andean Bear is 5 feet. They have short tail, about 7cm in length. They have excellent sense of smell. The Andean Bears are arboreal and can active during the day time as well as at night. On the tree, they make a platform in which they take rest or store food items.

    The breeding season of Andean Bear is from April to June. After 5 to 8 months, the female Andean Bear gives birth of 2 to 3 cubs in December to February. The weight of the newborn cubs is 300gm to 350gm and they are all blind. The mother bear raises the cubs for 3 to 4 months. The male and female reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 to 7 years.

    Their numbers decrease due to habitat loss and poaching. The poachers kill the bears for their body parts such as claws, fur, gall bladder etc. to make traditional Chinese medicines which are sold at high prices. They are also killed for trophy hunting, pet trade etc. Deforestation is another reason for their threat. As they are mostly depended on trees for surviving, the deforestation damages their natural habitat. The shortage of food due deforestation, push them to kill live stock or feed on crops.

    Panda Bear

    Panda Bear or Giant Panda is a medium-sized bear species, scientific name is “Ailuropoda melanoleuca”. Panda bear is native to China and is considered a national treasure of that country. On the basis of distinct color pattern, cranial measurement and population genetics, two Panda bear subspecies are found. The two subspecies are A. m. melanoleuca and the A. m. qinlingensis. Male Panda bear is around 4 feet to 6 feet in length and 60cm to 90cm tall. Their weight can reach up to 160kg. The female is about 10% to 20% smaller than male. The weight of the female Panda bears is between 70kg and 125kg. Their body is covered with black and white fur. The black fur covers their legs, eyes, ears, arms, muzzle and shoulder. This color combination help them to camouflage in their habitat. Their fur also helps them to keep their body warm. Their thumb and five fingers in each paw help them to hold bamboo while eating them. The length of their tail is about 4 inches to 6 inches. The Panda bear can live up to 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in the captivity.

    Panda bear is a herbivorous animal and their main food items are bamboo shoots and leaves which make 99% of their diet. In the wild, they sometimes consume grasses, tubers as well as rodents, birds and also carrion. In captivity, Panda bears are given fish, honey, yams, eggs, banana, orange, shrubs, leaves etc. to eat. The Panda bear consume 9kg to 14kg of bamboo shoots in a single day. Their powerful jaws and large molar teeth help them to crush and grind their food materials.

    Panda bears are more active during the daytime and midnight. They produce different types of vocalizations to communicate. Scent marking such as spraying urine and clawing trees are other methods to communication. They do not build permanent den for them but take shelter in rock crevices or hollow trees. As they have no permanent den, the Panda bear do not go for hibernation. In colder months, Panda bears migrate warmer temperate zones. When Panda bears are 4 to 8 years old, they reach sexual maturity and can reproduce up to 20 years of age. Their breeding season starts on March and extend to May. After 160 days of gestation period, the female Panda bear gives birth of 2 cubs but she chooses the stronger cub to raise and feed her milk only the selected cub, so the other weaker cub dies for starvation. The male Panda bear does not contribute to raise the cub. Newborn cub is pink in color and is blind and toothless. The length of the newborn cub is 6 to 7 inches and weight is 100gm to 200gm. It fully depends on mother’s milk. After one or two weeks, the cub becomes grey in color and its fur turns in black. After six months, the cub able to eat a small quantity of bamboo. When the cub becomes 2 years old, it leaves mother and survives separately in the wild.

    Panda Bears are threatened due to habitat loss. Their numbers are also decreased due to low birth-rate. Panda bears are classified as vulnerable by IUCN in 2016.

    Where Do Sloths Live

    Sloth Bear

    Sloth Bear is a medium-sizes bear species, endemic to Indian subcontinent and their scientific name is “Melursus ursinus”. Despite their name, Sloth bear is not a slow-moving animal. Their running speed is more than humans. Their name was given Sloth bear by the European zoologist George Kearsley Shaw because of their unusual teeth and long claws. They are rarely seen hang upside down from the trees like a sloth. The two subspecies of Sloth bear are found – Indian Sloth Bear and Sri Lankan Sloth Bear. Sloth bears have different names in different languages throughout their range such as Karadi, Rinchh, Bir Mendi, Bhalluk, Pani Karudi, Walaha and many more.

    The length of the Sloth bear is between 5ft to 6ft and standing height is 2ft to 3ft and weight can reach 55 to 105kg for female and 80kg to 145kg for male. Their body is covered with black fur and have a “V” shaped white marking on the chest. But the Sri Lankan Sloth bear has no white marking on their chest. The Sloth has thick long muzzles, small jaws and lower lips. They have no upper incisor teeth so they suck up a large number of insects. When they suck up the insects, they also suck up and chew amount of soil so the condition of their teeth is poor. The length of their claws is 10 cm in length and have the longest tail, among the bear species around 15 to 18 cm length. Their large floppy ears are covered with long hair.

    Sloth Bear lives in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal. Once they were found in Bhutan and Bangladesh but now, they are absent in these countries.

    Sloth Bear is a very good climber and climb the trees to get food and take rest. The Mother Bears carry their cubs and climb up the trees to protect their cubs from predators like leopards, tigers or other bears. The Sloth Bears are excellent swimmers. They mark their territories by scraping trees with their claws of their four paws or rubbing on the trees. They produce many vocalizations including roar, scream, grunt, snarls. Their loud huffing can be heard about 100 m away. They make their den in the caves and collect broken tree branches to make their beds to take rest in the wet season.

    The breeding season of Indian Sloth Bear occurs from April to June and the cubs born in December or early January. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear’s mating season occurs anytime throughout the year. After 210 days of the gestation period, female Sloth Bear gives birth 1 or 2 cubs inside the caves or under boulders. After 4 days, the new born cubs open their eyes. They become independent and leave their mother at the age of 24 to 36 months. Sometimes the Sloth Bears are hunted by the Bengal Tigers. About 20000 Sloth Bears are living in the wild of Sri Lanka and India. The lifespan of Sloth Bear is about 34 to 40 years in captivity.

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