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Bear Fact Friday

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Polar bears have a thick coat with 9,677 hairs per square inch.

Like people, all bears except pandas walk by putting their feet flat on the ground. This kind of walking is called “plantigrade.” In contrast to bears, other large animals, including dogs, horses, and even elephants, walk on their toes.

Not all bears hibernate. Asiatic black bears, American black bears, some brown bear species, and pregnant polar bears hibernate. Sloth bears live in warm places with abundant food, so they don’t need to hibernate.

The sun bear, an endangered species, is the smallest of the bears at 3.5 to 4.5 feet long. They are named after a crescent shaped marking on their black fur that looks like the rising sun.

Most bears have 42 teeth, which is about 10 more than people have. A bear’s canines can reach 1.5″ long, while a human’s are less than a half-inch long.

Asian Black bears are medium-sized bears that inhabit parts of southeast Asia and the Russian Far East. Asian black bears have a patch of yellowish-white fur on their chest and a black body. They resemble American black bears in body shape and behavior. Asian black bears feed on a variety of plant materials including bamboo shoots, leaves, herbs, grasses, fruits and nuts.

Six of the eight species of bears are classified as vulnerable or threatened with extinction.

The giant panda is the most threatened of all bear species, with only 1600 remaining individuals. Giant pandas are classified as Endangered by the IUCN. The sun bear, the smallest of the bear species, is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, as is the Andean bear, the sloth bear, the Asiatic black bear and the polar bear. Brown bears and black bears are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN and are considered to be outside of immediate risk of extinction at this time.

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