How Long Do Bears Live?
There are eight bear species in the world. Although most of them are omnivorous, their diets are mostly vegetarian. In the wild, bears can live up to 25 years of age, though older bears have been documented. Most bears however don’t reach old age because of human activity like hunting and habitat encroachment.
North American Black Bear
The North American Black Bear is the most common bear in North America. It’s found in a large portion of North America, starting at the northern part of the State of Florida, ranging into Canada and further north into Alaska. Females mate and produce cubs when they reach about five to seven years of age. Males reach full size at about eight years old, and weigh up to 600 pounds.
The brown bear which includes the grizzly bear, is found in Russia, parts of Europe, Asia, and in the US, Alaska and parts of Wyoming, Montana and Washington. Size depends on physical location and availability of food, but the largest brown bears live along the coast of Alaska and in Russia, with their sizes similar to the polar bear’s.
Polar bears are among the largest bears in the world. They can reach up to 1760 pounds. The females are usually smaller.
Asiatic Black Bear
Asiatic black bear have long black fur with white patches on their chests. As the name suggests they live in eastern Asia, and are carnivorous. Those found in southern climates do not hibernate.
Andean bears also referred to as spectacled bears are so named because they are found in the Andes Mountains in South America. They are an endangered species. They are easily distinguished by a distinctive beige marking across the face and upper chest.
Panda bears are smaller, weighing about 250 pounds and are famous for their love of the bamboo tree diet. Their gut is covered with a thick layer of mucus to protect it from splinters. The giant panda bear is an endangered species, and the main cause of this decline is the loss of their habitat. Giant pandas do not hibernate, but migrate to lower elevations in the cold months.
The sloth bear weighs about 300 pounds. They have shaggy hair and like to suck termites. They have a white U-shaped marking on their chest, large lips, long claws and long-tongue to enable them to dig for termites and climb trees. They are nocturnal creatures and because ants and termites are available all year round, the sloth bear need not hibernate.
The sun bear weighs about 100 pounds and is the smallest species of bear. Their fur is water-repellent, black and short. Their claws are long and sickle-shaped, they have very long tongues for extracting termites, and their paws are strong with naked soles. Their canines are the largest among the bear species, specialized for tearing meat, tearing trees to get termites and fighting.
Bears In Yellowstone
The American Black Bear and the Grizzly bear are found in Yellowstone National Park. One can visit the park around late March to witness the bears come out of hibernation, hungry and looking for a meal. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, grizzlies are an endangered species. Most grizzly sightings occur at dawn, dusk or at night, especially during spring and summer. In the park, the bears are usually sighted in the Lamar Valley, Antelope Creek meadows, Dunraven Pass, Gardiner’s Hole, Hayden Valley, or in the wet meadows along the East Entrance Road.