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Bear Fact Friday

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Brown bear mothers can give birth while they are hibernating. Baby bears are born hairless, toothless and blind.

The giant panda has a big appetite spending 12 hours every day eating bamboo.

Bears can stand on their hind feet similar to a human and sit up straight with remarkable balance.

The spectacled bear gets its name from the white markings around its eyes, which resemble glasses. Also known as the Andean bear, Spectacled bears are the only bear species that lives in South America where they are distributed throughout the Andes in Venezuela, Columbia, and the coastal foothills of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Their long claws allow them to climb trees, where they often spend their days sleeping away in tree nests that they constructed.. Today, spectacled bears inhabit cloud forests at elevations between 3300 to 8900 feet. Historically, spectacled bears also inhabited coastal deserts and high elevation grasslands, but the encroachment of humans into those habitats has restricted their range.

Bears walk in a manner such that their entire foot makes contact with the ground. This foot configuration is referred to as plantigrade locomotion and is also common in primates (including humans) as well. Other plantigrade animals include kangaroos, mice, raccoons, and hedgehogs. A bear’s plantigrade gait can be contrasted with the digitigrade gait foot of a dog (which walks on its digits) and the unguligrade foot of a deer (which walks on the tips of its toes).

Currently, approximately 8,000 bears are kept on “bear farms” in China. They are bred and kept in captivity so that bile from the gallbladders can be extracted for medicinal use. The bile is removed from the live animal through a catheter surgically implanted into the gallbladder.

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