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The Polar Bear is native to the Arctic and can be found in Alaska (USA), Canada, Greenland and in the Siberian region of Russia. It has white fur and thick blubber which help insulate it against the cold. Polar Bears have partially webbed feet which help make them great swimmers.

Polar Bear males typically range from 2.5 to 3 meters in length; females are considerably shorter. They are the largest of the bear family rivaled only by the Kodiak (Brown) Bear.

Polar Bears have sharp claws and a keen sense of smell which help them find their prey. As carnivores, they eat mainly seals and scavenge whale and walrus carcasses. Although regarded as a marine mammal, Polar Bears cover on average over 20 kilometers a day on land or ice.

 
 
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Brown Bears typically grow to over 2 meters (approximately 7 feet) long. They usually eat plants, berries, large insects, fish and small mammals. Widespread in the northern hemisphere, Brown Bears are found in Canada, USA, Europe and Asia.

Their thick fur ranges in colour mainly from black and brown to reddish brown and almost blonde. The Brown Bear has a big head, long snout and a large mound of muscle on its shoulder which gives the front legs extra strength which in turn helps it stand erect.

The Grizzly Bear, Kodiak Bear and Mexican Brown Bear are North American subspecies of the Brown Bear.

Note: Brown Bears aren't native to Scotland (Jock and Jimmy came from Scottish wildlife parks and were descended from Brown Bears in Turkey and Switzerland respectively).

 
 
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The American Black Bear is found in the majority of states in the USA, Canada and Mexico. It lives mainly in forest and shrub areas and has a diet consisting of nuts, berries, plants, insects, small mammals, honey and spawning salmon. It also has a tendency to looks for food in human garbage.

The American Black Bear can grow typically up to 1.8 meters (6 feet) in length and its short retractable claws are good for tree climbing. It usually has uniform black fur, a brown snout and sometimes white chest markings. The American Black Bear is a good swimmer.

Winnie the Pooh was named after an orphaned Black Bear from Canada.
 
 
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The Panda is native to the mountainous regions of central-western and to a larger extent southwestern China. Giant Pandas are typically 1,6 to 1.9 meters in length. The Panda is easily recognized by its large distinctive black patches around the eyes ears and on its body; the rest of its fur being white in colour.

It has an unusual ‘pseudo thumb’ and five fingers which helps when eating bamboo (99% of it diet). As bamboo has very little nutritional value, Pandas can eat other foods such as fish, eggs and honey.

Most bears have round pupils. The Giant Panda however has pupils with vertical slits. A Panda named Jing Jing is one of the mascots for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
 
 
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The Sun Bear is found mainly in the tropical rainforests of Burma. Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. It is approximately 1.2 meters in length making it one of the smallest members of the bear family.

Unlike other bears, the Sun Bear’s fur is short and sleek, mainly black but with an orange coloured mark in the shape of shape of a horseshoe on the chest and similar colouring on the face, around the snout and the eyes; hence the ‘Sun’ name. It has small, round ears and a short snout. Its inward pointing feet make it look awkward but it is nevertheless a great climber.

The diet of the Sun Bear varies widely and includes small vertebrates such as lizards, birds and other mammals in addition to fruits, roots, termites, berries and insects. Much of the Sun Bear’s food must be detected using its keen sense of smell as its eyesight is poor. It also has a long tongue which is especially useful for licking up larvae.
 
 
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Brown Bears typically grow to over 2 meters (approximately 7 feet) long. They usually eat plants, berries, large insects, fish and small mammals. Widespread in the northern hemisphere, Brown Bears are found in Canada, USA, Europe and Asia.

Their thick fur ranges in colour mainly from black and brown to reddish brown and almost blonde. The Brown Bear has a big head, long snout and a large mound of muscle on its shoulder which gives the front legs extra strength which in turn helps it stand erect.

The Grizzly Bear, Kodiak Bear and Mexican Brown Bear are North American subspecies of the Brown Bear.

Note: Brown Bears aren't native to Scotland (Jock and Jimmy came from Scottish wildlife parks and were descended from Brown Bears in Turkey and Switzerland respectively).

 
 
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The Asiatic Black Bear lives in Eastern Asia in the countries of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan etc. They are to be found in forested areas particularly in hills and mountain ranges. They have black fur with a white patch, which is typically crescent-shaped, on their upper body.

Asiatic Black Bears are between 1.3 to 1.9 meters in length and have relatively large ears. More carnivorous than its American Black Bear cousin, they eat small mammals, fish, fruits, berries, nuts and insects.

The Asiatic Black Bear can balance well on it’s hind feet. It is also a good climber, aided by it’s sharp claws, and swimmer.
 
 
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The Sloth Bear can reach a height of 1.8 meters. They primarily eat nuts and termites however they sometimes eat birds, eggs, flowers, fruits, honey and grains. Sloth Bears inhabit the lowland forests of Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The Sloth Bear’s body is covered in long, shaggy fur ranging from auburn to black with a distinctive white ‘V- shaped’ mark on its upper torso. It has a whitish long snout. The front paws are turned inwards and have curved claws that are adapted for digging.

In Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, one of the main characters is Baloo . . . . . . . a Sloth Bear!
 
 
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The Spectacled Bear’s thick coat is usually black or brown. It has whitish or cream coloured rings around the eyes which can give the appearance of spectacles. It typically grows to 1.6 to 1.8 meters.

Spectacled Bears are very adaptable and live throughout the forested Andes mountains of South America from Venezuela and Columbia through to Ecuador, Peru and on into Bolivia.

Fruits and bromeliads are favoured foods but Spectacled Bears also eat berries. Grasses, cactus flowers, insects and small animals such as rodents, rabbits and birds.
 
 
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The Grizzly is a large subspecies of the Brown Bear living in North America and is found in mountain forests and river valleys. The Grizzly Bear’s dense fur is yellowish brown to black in colour and it has long coarse guard hairs that become silver or grey tipped through age.

The Grizzly has long front claws and can sprint up to 13m/s ie significantly faster than a human. It has an excellent sense of smell and feeds on berries, pine nuts, roots, moths, fish and carrion.

Grizzly Bears have been known to prey on large mammals such as deer and sheep.

 
 
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The Red Panda is small and comparable in size to most household cats. It is native to southern China, the Himalayan mountain range in India and Nepal.

Red Pandas eat mainly bamboo shoots, grass, fruits and sometimes insects or small animals.

The Red Panda has semi retractile claws and like the Giant Panda has a ‘pseudo thumb’. Thick fur on the soles of the feet offers protection from cold and hides scent glands. Unlike other bears, the Red Panda has a long tail.

The classification of the Red Panda (and to a lesser extent, the Giant Panda) has been under debate for many years as the species shares characteristics of both bears and raccoon.
 
 
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Brown Bears typically grow to over 2 meters (approximately 7 feet) long. They usually eat plants, berries, large insects, fish and small mammals. Widespread in the northern hemisphere, Brown Bears are found in Canada, USA, Europe and Asia.

Their thick fur ranges in colour mainly from black and brown to reddish brown and almost blonde. The Brown Bear has a big head, long snout and a large mound of muscle on its shoulder which gives the front legs extra strength which in turn helps it stand erect.

The Grizzly Bear, Kodiak Bear and Mexican Brown Bear are North American subspecies of the Brown Bear.

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