Sunday, 5 February 2012

All You Would Ever Want To Know About Bears

Bears can be found throughout the world. They are generally large animals, and are characterized by a plantigrade walk (on their heels, like humans), a large body, short legs, a stub of a tail, small, round ears, and forward facing eyes.

Expert estimates of the weights of the bears also seem to vary widely. Conservative measurements put the average weight of the animals is around 300 pounds. However, the degree of sexual dimorphism exhibited by the species makes accurate accounts difficult. The largest black bear recorded was a male shot in Wisconsin in 1885. The bear was 802 pounds, far heavier than would be expected.

The Brown Bear has captured the human consciousness like nearly no other animal can. It presents an image so like ourselves that we often get caught up in the "cuteness" and forget that it is a wild animal that we are dealing with. The brown bear is often seen as the cuddly buffoon of animation, and the "Teddy" bear of children and collectors alike. In reality, the brown bear is a complex and fascinating animal deserving of great respect.

This animal's weight varies widely throughout the course of the year. Some can even double their weigh between emerging from their dens in the Spring and returning in the Fall. The males can weigh anywhere from 300 to 860 pounds, with the females coming in somewhere between 205 and 455 pounds. The average size of these bears is difficult to pinpoint, because it seems to depend greatly on the food sources available. The island grizzlies of Alaska (Kodiak and Admiralty) are considered the largest land carnivores in the world, and live on a diet of fish and other rich food. The inland animals are smaller by some 30%.

Of the browns, people tend to be more familiar with the grizzly bear. This animal is well known for it's agressive nature, and it is for this reason that many folks believe it gets its name. Not so! The name "grizzly" comes from the "grizzling" of its fur, which gives it a lighter color at the tips of hairs.

Like most other bears, the brown bears are longers; with the notable exception of females with cubs. During the mating season, males and females may pair up and mate frequently for up to two weeks. The females require the stimulation of frequent mating before they will ovulate. While fertile, she may mate with several males, leading to cubs in a litter which may not all have the same father. This is one of the factors that makes research into bears more difficult, since paternity is often hard to determine.

The home ranges of bears often overlap. The ranges of males will often intersect those of several females. Bears will not generally attack other bears which wander in to their territories. They will even congregate peacefully in places where food is plentiful such as garbage dumps and salmon streams. In such places, the big, dominant males will usually get the choice fishing areas.

Like those of other bears, the ears of the polar bear are round. They are, however, smaller and closer to the head. This, along with the overall shape of the animal help to make it a formidable swimmer. The paws are large, and slightly webbed, which also contribute to the bear's abilities as a swimmer.
There is a great degree of sexual dimorphism among the bears as well. The males are huge, the heaviest of them weighing as much as 1300 pounds. The females are smaller, the largest of them being only about 600 pounds.

The boars do not generally hibernate, but remain active for most of the year. The pregnant females are the exception to this, however. They go through a denning and hibernation period, just like that of the black, brown, and other bears.
Polar bears are more agressive than other bears. Even in captivity.

The sloth bear is unique among bears as it has only 40 adult teeth. The cubs have 42 while nursing. The two middle, upper incisors do not grow in with the rest of the permanent teeth. The dirt that the bears ingest with their food often leads to bad teeth, as it grinds away the enamel. When feeding, the bears make loud, sucking sounds which can be heard for many miles.

No comments:

Post a Comment