Although bears are regarded as fierce and aggressive, they are usually a peaceful and solitary creature. Bears are found largely in northern temperate regions and are widely distributed in North America, Europe, and Asia. Many species of bears display physical characteristics adapted to their environment. Bears vary in size according to their species. They are fast and agile and are able to stand on their hind legs and strike out with their front paws. Most bears climb trees and swim well.
Bears have poor eyesight and most have only average hearing but their sense of smell is very good. Their teeth are suitable for either tearing flesh or grinding vegetables. The diet of bears generally is varied with most species enjoying a feast of ants and honey. Bears also eat bees, seeds, roots, nuts, berries and insect larvae. They like a good feed of rodents, fish, deer, pigs and lambs as well. Grizzlies and Alaskan brown bears fish for salmon while the polar bear feeds mainly on seals. However, the Spectacled bear rarely eats anything other than vegetation.
Bear cubs are born hairless, small and helpless, unable to open their eyes for about a week. They can, however, get along perfectly well on their own when they are about six months old. Animals that sleep through the winter are said to hibernate. Bears are not true hibernators. On a warm winter's day they can come out of their den and take you by surprise as some people have found out.
Bears have been hunted for centuries and their pelts have been sold for rugs, hats, coat trimmings, and muffs. The teeth and claws of bears are often used as ornaments by North American Indians and Eskimos. Bear fat is used for frying food and for softening materials such as leather.
Bears are still used for entertainment in some circus's. The hunting of bears has resulted in large reduction of many species. The brown bear has been almost eliminated from many parts of Europe and during the 19th century grizzlies were almost wiped out in the U.S.A. Bears are protected in many national parks these days and by carefully regulating the hunting of this magnificent animal, may in the future increase sustained ecological numbers once more.
YOUR TASK: Choose one of the bear species and research bear facts. Collate your facts in essay format or make a web page if you're into computers. Obtain pictures of your bear specie to compliment your work. Think about what each specie would eat, their weight, size, height, breeding habits, gestation period, where they live etc.
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