Bears are mammals. They are among the predators. They can be divided into two families: big bears and little bears. The big bears are also called “real bears”.
When they say bears, they often mean the big bears. Only one of them lived with us: the brown bear. One often means him when one simply speaks of the bear. And don’t forget the bear as a toy, namely as a teddy bear.
What are big bears like?
Real bears have large heads, short arms and legs, and strong bodies. Bears have small eyes, round ears, and five clawed toes on each paw. The coat color is mostly brown or black. In exceptional cases, bears can weigh up to 800 kilograms. That’s almost as much as a small car.
Bears are loners. Where there is a real winter, they hibernate. During the rest of the year, they usually sleep in hollow tree trunks or in burrows during the day. They are mainly active at night. They eat pretty much anything they can find: they almost always find berries, fruits, and greens. They also eat insects, larvae, small vertebrates, and rodents such as mice and many others. This includes fish. Sometimes they also hunt animals as big as deer.
Bears only meet to mate and then separate again. The fertilized egg can wait a long time in the mother’s womb before it implants and begins to develop. The actual pregnancy lasts just over two months.
Little bears drink milk from their mother for three to nine months, so they are mammals. But they stayed with their mother for almost two years. They only become sexually mature at the age of three to six years, so they can then have their own young. In the wild, bears live up to 20 to 30 years, and in zoos up to 50 years.
Where do big bears live?
Bears live all over the world but don’t like dry areas. There are eight different types of big bears. The best-known species is the brown bear. He lives in North America, Europe, and Asia. The grizzly bear is also a brown bear. It only occurs in North America.
Polar bears live in the Arctic and Greenland. The American black bear lives in the United States and Canada. It is estimated that there are still almost a million animals left.
The other bear species tend to live in the south: The best known is probably the giant panda, which is only found in a few mountains in China. The black bear, the sloth bear, and the sun bear also live in Asia.
Only the spectacled bear lives in South America. It is threatened, like other bear species. Man is taking more and more land away from him. So he loses his living space.
How are little bears?
Small bears measure a maximum of 67 centimeters. So they are about the size of one or two rulers. A single animal also weighs a maximum of 12 kilograms. Some of them look more like marten than a bear.
Their fur is brown or gray. The tail is usually curled. Some small bears also have different colors in their face. They have small ears that are pointed or round. They have five toes on each foot with short, curved claws.
Small bears are out and about at night or at dusk. Coatis are an exception. They sleep in rock crevices or tree cavities. Many species are good climbers.
Small bears will eat anything they can find, but mostly plants. They especially like nuts and fruits. But also small vertebrates, eggs, and insects are sometimes present.
Where do little bears live?
Little bears only exist in America. The raccoon is something special: Originally it was at home from Canada to Panama. In various countries, however, he was abandoned or escaped from captivity. In Germany, for example, it became a plague and is hunted there.
Further south in America lives the kinkajou, also known as the honey bear. Coatis have a nose almost like a pig’s. The cat Frette’s head resembles that of a desert fox. The Maci bears only live in a rather small area in Central America. Altogether there are six genera with 14 species of small bears.