Image by NASA

BEARS OF THE WORLD

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Andean or spectacled bear (Tremarctus ornatus)

Andean bears are South America's only bears and live in a variety of mountain habitats.  Also known as the spectacled bear for the rings of white or light fur around its eyes, which can look like eyeglasses (or spectacles) against the rest of the bear's black or dark brown fur.

American black bear (Ursus americanus)

This North American bear is medium-sized, usually black with a brown muzzle, lacks a shoulder hump, and often has a white patch on the chest.   Black bears inhabit forests of coniferous and deciduous trees, as well as open alpine habitats where there are no brown bears.

Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus)

This bear’s scientific name literally means "moon bear of Tibet."  It is a medium sized bear, jet black fur with a thick mane-like ruff around their neck. In addition to the yellow moon on their chest, they have a brown or tan muzzle and a whitish chin.  They live in the heavily forested mountainous areas and moist tropical forests in southern Asia.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos)

Brown bears are the most widely distributed bears in the world. They are found in North America, Europe, and Asia.  Brown bears have a bulky muscle mass located above the shoulders. This hump is designed to power the forelimbs and makes them exceptionally powerful diggers. This is one of the features that distinguishes them from the more common North American black bear which lacks such a shoulder hump.

Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanolueca)

The giant panda’s scientific name means black and white bear.  Giant pandas have a distinctive black and white coat, with black fur around their eyes and on their ears, muzzle, legs and shoulders. Their thick, wooly coat helps to keep them warm in their cool mountain homes.

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

The polar bear is the largest species of all bears.  Found in Arctic regions they are considered to be marine mammals. In fact, Ursus maritimus (the polar bear's binomial name) means "sea bear." They are excellent swimmers and can swim up to 60 miles without rest.

Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus)

Sloth bears have a long shaggy, black coat with a white or yellow V shaped marking on their chest.  At an early age they lose their 2 front upper incisors, creating a very useful gap through which they can suck insects.

Sun bear (Helarctos malyanus)

The Sun bear is smallest bear species in the world whose name is derived from the golden colored crescent shaped patch of fur on its chest. It is also known as the honey bear because of its extreme fondness of honey.

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