Bears Around the World

They Can Live Almost Anywhere and Eat Almost Anything

by Shekinah McCurty, age 12

     Bears are the largest meat-eating animals that live on land. Some bears weigh more than 1,300 pounds. There are seven different species of bears, but some scientists also consider including the giant panda, bringing the total to eight.
     One type of bear is the American black bear. These bears have great sense of smell. Since they usually hunt at night, their strong sense of smell helps them find food in the dark. Like most bears they hibernate in the winter, but are light sleepers and are easily awoken. Believe it or not, these bears are scared of humans, and they usually stay away from us. However, they can be very dangerous if threatened while protecting their cubs.
      Similar to the American black bears is the Asiatic black bear. In many parts of Asia they are endangered because their natural habitat is being destroyed due to deforestation. Some people sell bear body parts for money. The parts are used to make different kinds of medicine. Asiatic bears are really good climbers, so they are able to climb up trees and steal fruit and honey from nests of wild bees. They also like small insects and small animals; sometimes they even feed on farm animals.
     Grizzly bears are not good climbers, but they can run fast. They are not picky; they will eat almost anything from fruit to deer.  Grizzly bears are in the same group as the Alaskan and the Kodiak bear and are strong, and brave. Every winter, grizzly bears give birth to two to four cubs. After a year with their mother they take off by themselves.
     Another Asian bear is the sloth bear. That’s not a bear you hear about every day. Its diet and manner of eating is unusual. It sucks up its main food: termites. It closes its nose, making sure it doesn’t choke on the termites. This method is noisy. You can hear this more than 500 feet away. Sloth bears have bad eyesight and horrible hearing. They usually are not very dangerous, but will attack if caught by surprise.

[Sources: The King Fisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia, National Geographic]

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