Camping outdoor is a great refuge for an individual entangled in the hustle and bustle of tedious routine life. It’s no doubt an amazing adventure to get yourself out of your monotonous daily routine in leisure time.
Keep wild animals out of your campsite by covering food, picking an area, hiding food and trash, campfire, have a flashlight, and add citric scent.
Don’t forget, the adventure comes with the risky incidents of attracting wild animals while you’re camping in their territory. You need to be fully prepared when you meddle in wildlife’s dominion. Before going camping, you should study the area you’re going in, stock up on your camping gear, and get the know-how of how to keep local wildlife away from your campsite. You cannot find this knowledge in any coursebook or from any educational source.
You need to consult the experienced campers, listen to the novice campers’ stories, and then decide on your own what should you do or do not. World life is beautiful but only when you do not disturb their territory. It becomes risky and life-threatening when the wild animals come to your campsite uninvited. Explore the best new opportunities and novelties while camping, but don’t underestimate wild animals even if you’re fully prepared.
Here are some tips I’ve got for you to consider your safety factor at first to deter your chance of an encounter with wild animals while you are camping outdoor:
Be Aware of Wildlife’s Favourite Sites
To keep yourself and your camp out of reach of wild animals like bears, raccoons, hyenas, and other nuisance wildlife, choose a safe place for setting up your camp to keep wild animals like bears and wolves, insects, and snakes away for the whole night. You should know the first basic thing while camping outdoor that which kinds of animals like to make their home at which specific places.
Snakes are more likely attracted to leaf piles, wooded areas, water bodies, fallen trees, rocky areas, and tall grasses. Likewise; woody areas, piles of locks, lumps of trashes, and grassy areas are the most attractive places for insects and mosquitoes in the open outdoors.
Damp areas, still waters, marshes, and the bottom of valleys are the most attractive places to bears for searching the hearty meals. A tiger or a lion can find you near a water source when he is seeking it out. A curious or a hungry animal can smell the scent of food and can be surprising trouble for you.
Be aware of wild animals and snakes favorite places and stay away from them. Meddling in wildlife territory can cost you a lot. Pick the safe campsite possible!
Quell Food Smell
Animals can smell food through their noses from far enough places. If they smell it, they get attracted to it for having the food. To keep yourself safe and sound from bears or any wild animal’s attack while they’re searching for food, keep your camp and your surroundings clean. Dispose of off every little leftover scrap in strong plastic canisters or containers to prevent unpleasant odours to escape out for luring or attracting the animals towards you.
A bear or a wild animal cannot pry this plastic canister open and this keeps you and your everything safe. Once an animal smells the food, he lurks around to find the food source by smelling it through its nostrils. If he reaches the destination where you’ve put your food or leftovers, he destroys each and everything to find the food in similar containers and bags.
If he cannot find anything, he can attack you more aggressively. Never store your food in your camp or don’t put food coolers beside your tent. Keep your trash out of reach; animals may come after it in hopes of finding food. Quell the noticeable smell for your safety.
Essential Items for Night
For protecting yourself and deterring wild animals from attack at night, a camper must be prepared regarding the basic camping things and items beforehand. Animals don’t wander around in the wild to sing songs, setting up quizzes, or to play games with each other or with other primates.
They roam all the way around in the wilderness to find a hearty meal. It could be you! When they search for the meal and find it, they destroy everything to have it. To deter the destruction, never put any meal inside or beside your campsite. A flashlight or a sudden burst of light for helping you spook the animal lurking around the tent will be an additional helping tool for you at night. Have heavy-duty trash bags with you whenever you go camping outdoor in the wilderness.
Some places in the wild do not provide the appropriate mean for disposing of your trash outside the campsite. Bring the heaviest bags for your garbage and use additional bags for protection that your food does not run over the garbage bag. Never burn your trash at your campsite as it can also attract the wild animals or make them aggressive due to smoke.
Choose an Ideal Campsite
Choose an ideal campsite for the safe and enjoyable camping outdoor in the wooded area. Avoid the areas that can be the favorite places for wildlife. You do not need to look for amazing scenery to set up your camp but a safe place for staying safe at night.
Pick an open, flat, and a little bit elevated area to keep the animals away from you. An open area gives you protection against the wandering wild animals as compared to the enclosed area which can cause animals to feel entrapped and they can be aggressive and ferocious towards you. Besides, an open area with low grass helps the campers to be safe by keeping the insects, bugs, and snakes away.
An elevated area with some trees can be the best possible campsite to hang your food coolers, camping gears, backpacks, and necessary camping items. A camp near water source benefits the campers for meeting their hydration needs like cleaning, washing, bathing, etc, but the spot should not be so near enough because animals also seek the water sources out in wild. The spot should be 200 feet far enough from your campsite to avoid the wild animals.
Avoid Noticeable Scent for Yourself
You’re camping in the wilderness and you’re fond of perfumes, then your favourite scents are going to make you pay for this. Food is not just the only thing in the wilderness that can attract animals outdoor at night. Everything which leaves a little scent or smell can attract wild animals when nightfall.
You don’t have any need to put your favourite fragrant liquid when you’re camping outdoor. Animals’ sense of smell is strongest as compared to human beings. Out of all wild animals, the bear is believed to have the most robust sense of smell on the planet. Avoid any kind of lotions, sweet-scented fragrant liquids, deodorants, or anything which has the noticeable fragrance to lure the wildlife towards you especially bears.
If you’re so much fond of perfumes or you need to get hydrated through some lotions, apply them at noon or in the morning so that the scent can evaporate before night. Keep everything that leaves a scent away in some high-quality odour-proof bags.
Wash your hands every time you touch food or anything that has some fragrance or odour. Measures are needed also in case of unpleasant odour because some animals become aggressive by it.
Bear Arms While You’re Spending Time in Wilderness
There’re many horrible incidents in history while people were camping in the wilderness and they were attacked by wild bears, hyenas or other wild animals despite they had cleaned their immediate environment at the campsite and also the wild animals were not attracted because of food scent.
So, it’s good to know for your safety how to protect yourself and the other people around you from an approaching animal. To stop the animal right on its track, it’s an important precautionary measure that you should bear a good arm or capsaicin spray for protection. Take measures before you get unthinkable.
Hide Your Food Because Bears Can Climb
Many experienced campers suggest newbie that hanging food from tree branches can save everything in coolers, but the reality is something else. It does not work out in case of bears searching for the food when they smell it.
A baby bear can climb up a 70 feet tree in just 10 seconds and a parent bear can scale a tall tree without any hindrance or trouble in a quarter of that time. The recommendation of hanging the food coolers along with tree branches is not to save your food from the attack of wild animals, but for a camper’s safety measures. It is a safe way to maintain a safe distance between camper and the people around him and the object or food of a hungry beast’s desire.
If a bear comes that way smelling the food, the distance saves the people from its attack and the bear can easily get what he wants. The best way to save food and people at the campsite is to put the food in water-resistant bags or odor-proof receptacles and hide them in nearby woods or your car. Never put the entire food supply in your camping tent, but just the needs for the night.
Trash Disposal Must be Your First Concern
For not attracting wild animals at night, you should take precautionary measures regarding the disposal of leftovers when you are done with cooking or eating the food before nightfall. As the first important precautionary measure, you should set-up the campsite 200 feet away from the place where you used to or plan to cook.
Then, you should clean the place and dispose of the garbage off at least 200 feet far away from your camping tent. Ensure before disposing of the trash that the garbage or leftovers should be sealed in odor proof bags with additional high receptacle to prevent the food to run over the bag, the liquid to spill out, or the smell to attract the animals. Some outdoor areas allow the campers to burn or dispose of the garbage or food scraps off, but some areas like damp, marshy, or water bodies won’t allow people to let their garbage outside.
People in such cases have to carry all the garbage or food leftovers with them. Areas near water sources cause the food scraps or other leftovers a bit unpleasant to smell. You should consider the camping rules enforced at your campsite for your family, yourself, and other people’s safety.
Enjoy Yourself While Hiking Around Your Campsite
It’s important to take safety measures for night time, but wildlife does not care about the time whether it is morning, noon, or night. All wildlife can be more dangerous in the daytime as it is at night. Beware of the wild animals when you’re hiking around your campsite in the wilderness. To avoid the attack of any wild animals in bushes, in woods or at hills, follow the additional safety rules because your presence might offend any wild animal. Sing songs, be a little bit noisy, shout often, talk while you walk along with your friends or members of your family and you can clap your hands, too.
Be extra careful when your family and children are along with you. Avoid approaching thick bushy areas because you may approach a wild animal or surprise him in his territory. Be careful while walking on the trails; watch out the signs of cracks and scratches on trees and bushes. Never startle a female animal with her cubs especially a female bear when you are on your hiking track. It’s your time. Enjoy the cherished moments of your life to the fullest, but yours and others safety come at first to play!
Food’s Scent Draws Wildlife’s Attention
Cooking cuisines with ingredients having strong smells can draw wild animals’ attraction especially the bears because they have a strong and robust sense of smell. Bears can be drawn to the food scent from far away because they have a much more acute sense of smell than us or any other animal. Put freeze-dried junks or food items in your coolers while camping in the wild to avoid the risk of getting wild animals’ attraction.
Never leave your food unattended and the scraps of food or leftovers inside or outside the tent even if you’re going to the next tent of your friend for some moments. Avoid cooking meat outdoor because in this way you’re inviting the wild animals to get you as their hearty meal. Eating inside your tent can risk you a lot because the scent even after you have done eating lingers in the surroundings of your campsite.
Cleanliness should be the priority while camping outdoor in terms of cleaning food scraps, trash, leftovers, and clothing are packed away before night falls. The reason for being yourself and your campsite incredibly clean is that your camp or tent should smell like nature to avoid wildlife as much as possible.
How to Keep Animals Away from Campsite
You’ve picked your campsite and set-up your tent at your wanted place, but you’re not done here. In the wilderness, you need to take some important safety or precautionary measures beforehand to ensure that wild animals like bears and wolves are not interested in visiting your camp or taking you as their dinner at nightfall.
To avoid or repel bears, hyenas, and wolves to wander outside or inside your tents, use flashlights, high-pitched noises, and citrus scents as repellents for not waking-up the whole night to the sound of a bear outside or nearby your tent. You can also leave your radio on while sleeping at night because human voices help to distract the animals from coming close.
Some of the wild animals do not like the unpleasant smell of fabric softener that we use in our dryers. Take a pack of fabric softener along with you when you’re preparing your backpack for camping. The smell also covers the food scent so it would be a wise decision to take it in your camping supplies. Put it everywhere on your backpack, food cooler, sleeping bag, tent, and outside and inside your campsite to deter animals from entering your territory.
Campsite Resources to Make Your Campsite Wild-Free
Some of the best resources to avoid the risk of unwanted incidents with wild animals can be deterred through below-mentioned campsite resources to keep your campsite environment wild-free:
The UrSack S29
This campsite resource is a white rucksack that is made up of bulletproof material to deter wild animals especially wild bears from attack. The resource is designed in such a way that a wild animal especially a bear cannot get into your foot. The reason why it is specially designed for the bears is that the bears are the most unwanted surprise guests in the wilderness while camping. Its critter resistance ability is because it comes with a highly super-strong tensile cord. The UrSack S29 can hold up to 650 cubic inches of the stuff within it.
The LokSak OpSak bag resource is a bear-proof bag and is perfect for camping outdoor. The bag features an absolute airtight hermetic seal. It’s lightweight, recyclable, and reusable. If you’re planning to go camping in a rainy area, then this OpSak bag is also water-safe and electric-safe. The bag comes in various sizes according to the needs of campers. It’s rodent and animal-proof to get you the safe and enjoyable experience of camping in the wilderness without any fear of wildlife. This bag protects the camper from the teeth and claws of the animal if some wanders by your campsite.
The BearVault revolutionary containers or canisters are bear-free and black and grizzly bear approved. These containers are transparent, wild animal-free, super-rugged, and light in weight. A camper can easily take the BearVault container with him because they are specially designed for backpacks. These are backpackers for the campers’ comfort. It provides all the space for carrying a full seven days worth of food items with you. They are easy and reliable to store the food away from you to assure you that your food will be there where you’ve put it at night. Use reliable bear-resistant containers on-the-go.
Enjoy your weekends or summer vacations outdoor with your family members or friends for enjoying the novelties in the world to the fullest. While you go camping, keep these few important safety measures on your camping plan’s hit list when heading out for your trip in the wilderness. These rules will help you to prevent unwanted encounters with the surprise wild guests at your campsite.
Camping outdoor is a fun and amazing way to pass your leisure time or taking you out of your stressful monotonous life. Follow these suggestions and safety measures whether you are a novice inexperienced camper or an experienced professional camper to have you a successful camping experience and keeping you and your immediate campsite environment safe and sound. Indeed, camping in the wilderness is the best opportunity to go back to reconnect to your roots, relieve your stress and chaos of worldly problems, and for leaving your life worries aside.
Bear Aggressiveness and Danger to Humans
Bears have a bad reputation. Bears are actually normally shy and avoid conflict with humans, only resorting to aggression when they feel threatened. Unfortunately, bears are highly curious and often attracted to the sights and smell of nearby humans.
Preventative methods are now commonly in use in campgrounds and picnics, employing bear-proof trashcans. When camping it is important to store food and anything with a strong scent (sunscreen, fuel, toiletries, cosmetics) properly. Keep food outside of backpacks and tents. Bear-resistant containers should be closed and locked and kept 100 feet from the campsite.
Engaging in these preventative measures can drastically reduce unnecessary human-bear interactions. Every avoided interaction also reduces the chance of aggressive interaction. American black bears are mildly aggressive and will often scurry away and climb nearby trees instead of resorting to confrontation. Mother bears with cubs are by far the most dangerous towards humans. If a mother perceives a threat to their cubs, they may attack. This is especially true for brown bears, who because of their large size are less able to quickly flee up a tree.
Polar bears are often viewed as being extremely ferocious and attacking without provocation. As with all bears, an attack is more common when encountering a mother bear and their cubs. Polar bears are incredibly isolated and when suffering from starvation can attack humans unprovoked because they may not view humans as a threat.
Sloth bears are the true aggressive bear species. The Indian subcontinent is densely populated throughout which forces regular interactions between the bears and humans. Yearly India alone reports the same numbers of deaths from Sloth bears as brown bears kill across the globe. This aggressiveness is hypothesized as an evolutionary defense because Sloth bears are unable to escape predators and climb trees thanks to their long claws.
The chance of encountering and being attacked by a bear is very low. Bears attack roughly 40 people a year, spread throughout the globe. These attacks are necessarily fatal and usually a response to feeling threatened.
Human Interactions with Bears
Bears and humans have a long complicated history. In ancient times, bears were used in entertainment, fought by pit fighters in the Roman Coliseum, and later in medieval times. Wild bears would be captured in their natural habitats of Armenia and Romania.
Early American settlers feared bears, especially Grizzly bears, that often required multiple shots before going down. Rifles during this period were single-shot, meaning a shot that missed the heart or head, often left the settler in an extremely compromised position with an angry bear. During California’s Gold Rush, brown bears were killed in tremendous numbers. 10,000 were likely killed between 1850 and 1926 when the final California grizzly was killed.
In the early days of the National Park System, visitors were allowed to leave trash out to attract bears. This habituated bears to humans and increased aggressive incidents in the parks. Eventually, the parks decided to ban all trash dumping and require extremely conservative trash removal and food storage during visitor’s stays. This has been effective and resulted in a reduction of bears that were killed after aggression towards humans.
Different Temperaments Among Different Species
Bears are incredibly majestic and interesting animals. They have evolve from their carnivore ancestors towards an omnivore and even herbivore diet. This flexibility has allowed bears to spread throughout the globe and inhabit a wide variety of habitats. Polar bears live in the Arctic surviving on seals, while Sun bears live in warm deciduous forests eating insects and fruit. While bears have had a long storied history being hunted and killed, bears are not overly aggressive. Bears often chose to flee and avoid humans. The greatest risk to an individual is a protective mother bear. Follow local laws and regulations set out by the authorities to reduce the risk of visits from bears, and there is little to be afraid of.
Bears are widely known and widely feared mammals. Only 8 species of bears exist in modern times, including the polar bear, brown bear, giant panda, sun bear, Asian black bear, American black bear, spectacled bear, and sloth bear. These 8 extant species are widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Bears are typically large and stocky, with long sounds, rounded ears, and stubby tails. Bears lead largely solitary lives inhabiting caves and logs for dens. Most species hibernate in the winter, in the safety of their dens. Hibernation lengths range widely depending on geographic location, from weeks to 5 months. While bears have carnivore biology, including carnivore digestive systems, most species consume predominately plant matter.
We will further examine in-depth the two most common bear species, the American Black bear and the Brown bear. Then we will learn about the less common types of bears, the degrees of aggressiveness and danger among the different species, and the state of human and bear interactions.
American Black Bear (Ursus Americanus)
The American black bear is found only in North America. They are widely distributed in forested areas, found in 32 states, northern Mexico, and all provinces and territories of Canada except Prince Edward Island. Polar bears and brown bears also inhabit North America, both being larger than the black bear.
As the name implies, the black bear has a predominantly black coat with a tan snout and sometimes a white chest patch. Mild color variation exists, with a browner cinnamon-colored coat being common in the western parts of North American and a silver-grey or white coat (known as glacier and Kermode bears respectively) sometimes seen in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in Canada.
The black bear stands about 3 feet high and is between 4-6 feet long. Males typically weigh 130-350 pounds with females weighing 90-175 pounds. Black bears lack the shoulder hump visible in brown bears. Black bears can vary significantly in size depending on the quality and quantity of the food resources available.
Black bears live in mostly forested areas, including arid and moist forests. They are also found in mountainous areas and swamps. They require decent vegetation cover as well as a range of plants and shrubs as a food source. Their home range is usually 10 square miles but can be up to 200 square miles.
American black bears are omnivores, despite being in the order carnivora. A considerable amount of their diet is plant matter, up to 85%. Black bears eat leaves, roots, twigs, nuts, corn, and berries. Berries and plant buds are the predominant dietary sources in the summer. Acorns are especially important in the fall to prepare for hibernation. Black bears experience autumn hyperphagia, or extreme hunger, to encourage constant feeding and weight gain prior to their 100-day hibernation. During scavenging, they may discover and consume beehives including the honey, as well as grubs and other insects. The black bear isn’t limited to plants, and regularly catches fish, frogs, fawns, and small rodents. Black bears will also feast upon carrion, especially post hibernation.
To hibernate black bears must locate a suitable den or build one, but digging under the roots of a dead treat or in a crevice. American black bears will sleep deeply and their metabolism and heart rate significantly slows to conserve energy.
The mating season is between June and July. Up to 5 blind cubs can be born to a female each season, in January or February. At birth, the cubs weigh roughly half a pound, but within a few months, they begin to explore and will reach 10 pounds. Cubs are weaned by 6-8 months old, but require the assistance of their mother to survive their first winter. A year after their birth, the following spring, they will leave to find their own territory.
Black bears are most active during the early mornings and evenings. American Black bears lead highly solitary lives, only coming together during mating season and when a mother is rearing cubs. They can reach speeds of 30 mph and can quickly scurry up trees after prey or to escape humans.
Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos)
Brown bears are a fearsome large bear species, commonly called grizzly bears in North America. Their range includes North America and extends into Russia, China, Central Asia, Scandinavia, the Balkan Peninsula, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Iran, and Turkey.
This range has severely shrunk in recent times, especially in the United States. Grizzly bears inhabit only 2% of their former range in the lower 48, with almost all 32,000 bears in the United States living in Alaska. Populations are recovering in the Rockies, slowly but steadily. Over 100,000 brown bears thrive in the vast wilds of Russia. Outside of Russia, the other bear populations in Europe are small, fragmented, and declining. The Carpathian brown bear population living in Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Slovenia, and Slovakia is estimated at a healthy 5,000 bears although this is in rapid decline. Most other pockets of populations in Europe are under 500 bears.
Grizzly bears are slightly taller than brown bears, at about 3 and a half feet tall. Their size ranges are large depending on food availability. Males can range from 200 to 800 pounds! Females are usually between 200 and 400 pounds. This means brown bears are 1.5 to 2 times larger than black bears. Coastal brown bear populations are the largest, while barren inland populations are the smallest on average.
Brown bears have predominantly brown coats, but their brown hues can range wildly and include silver to reddish tones. Their coats are long and thick and have whitish tips giving them the ‘grizzled’ look.
Grizzly bears occupy a decent range of habitats compared to black bears. They thrive in the tundra and barren Arctic areas. They are equally successful in prairie and foothill areas and in the thick temperate rainforests found in Alaska and British Colombia. Bears are not highly territorial against other bears but do have large territories. A male grizzly’s home range can cover 250-1000 square miles and can overlap with other grizzly territories. Multiple females may range within a male’s territory, as their home ranges are smaller, about 75-250 square miles.
Grizzly bears are omnivorous. They have been recorded eating the greatest variety of foods of any of the bear species. Bears are highly curious creatures and brown bears have a keen sense of curiosity about trying to eat essentially anything. Similar to black bears, about 90% of their diet consists of plant matter. Grizzly bears consume berries, flowers, acorns, pinecones, grasses, roots, and even mushrooms. Their claws are long and more curved than black bears, making them excellent diggers, able to easily access roots. Brown bears also eat a large variety of grubs and larvae, and raid beehives.
The geographic range of specific grizzly populations affects their predominant food sources. Brown bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, consume up to 40,000 moths per day during the summer months. Coastal grizzlies eat crabs and clams, catch birds and raid their nests. Those in the Kamchatka peninsula and coastal Alaska catch abundant spawning salmon, helping build their enormous size. Brown bears are not active predators as they are often perceived, although research indicates those that excel at capturing larger ungulates were taught so by their mothers. This behavior appears to be an inherited trait. Even so, brown bears will target young, injured, or sick animals. As with black bears, carrion is an important dietary component in early spring as they attempt to regain their strength after hibernation.
Grizzly bears will complete their dens within 7 days, with pregnant females entering their dens earlier and hibernating longer than others. The den is not large to minimize heat loss, and snow will usually cover the den entrance. Their respiration rate drops to about 1 breath every minute and their heart rate drops from 40-50 bpm during summer months to 8-20 BMP during active hibernation. Amazingly during hibernation bears do not defecate or urinate and don’t eat or drink anything. Their increased food consumption which was stored as fat carries them through the winter. Grizzlys will begin emerging between February and May in most areas.
The mating season for brown bears is between May and July. Females are capable of becoming pregnant roughly every 3 to 4 years and will seek out mates during this period. Because of hibernation, bears undergo embryonic diapause also known as delayed implantation. If a female is unable to gain enough weight during the fall, the embryo will not implant, because if a female gives birth during a winter she is not well-prepared for, both her and the cubs will perish. Litters are usually 1-3 cubs born blind and hairless. Unlike black bears, brown bear cubs form extremely close bonds to their mothers. They learn all survival techniques from their mothers and will leave after 2-4 years.
Grizzly bears live 15-30 years in the wild. They can run up to 40 mph. The larger bears in coastal regions may struggle to climb well because of their weight. Their claws are also more curved than black bears, which can inhibit climbing. Female grizzly bears, unable to quickly climb to escape human interaction may become aggressive to protect their cubs.
The Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus)
The Polar bear is the largest predatory carnivore in the wild. An adult male can weigh between 750 and 1500 pounds! Their range is largely constrained to the Arctic circle including Russia, Alaska, Canada, Denmark, and Norway. These countries cooperate in conservation efforts to try to maintain fragile polar bear populations. The Polar bear is technically a marine animal, spending a significant portion of its life hunting for food in icy waters. Polar bears are the most carnivorous bear species. Their diet consists primarily of two types of seal species, employing stealth tactics to surprise their prey.
The Sun Bear (Ursus malayanus)
Opposite the Polar bear, the Sun bear is the smallest bear species, standing only about 2 feet tall and usually weighing under 150 pounds. Their body shape is typical of other bears, with curved ears and short stocky legs, but with an identifiable yellow crescent on their chest. Sun bears live in Southeast Asia, specifically northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Their preferred habitats are deciduous and evergreen forests, with Sun bears avoiding human settlements. They are intelligent but extremely shy animals, rarely prone to attacking humans. They eat a variety of insects, fruit (especially figs), seeds, and occasionally vertebrates.
The Spectacled Bear or Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
The Spectacled bear is the last surviving bear species living in South America, as well as the only remaining short-faced bear. They are identified by their short snout, black fur, and tan face and chest markings. Their range is limited to the Andes mountains running through western South America due to the preferred humid environment and high-altitudes. Spectacled bears are aboreal and consume a predominantly plant-based diet. They eat a variety of fruits, palm nuts, bamboo hearts, and orchid bulbs, only eating animal prey as about 5% of their diet.
The Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus)
Sloth bears are a myrmechophagus species of bear, meaning they have a specially evolved face to eat ants and termines. Sloth bears live throughout the Indian subcontinent and are competitors of the Sun bear, where their ranges overlap. While they predominantly sniff out ant and termite mounds, they are capable of supplementing their diet with fruit when needed. They also greatly enjoy honey. Like Spectabled bears, they are distinctly identified by their unique nose and shaggy black coat.
The Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus)
Asian black bears were the evolutionary predecessors to the specializations seen in the Sloth bear and the Sun bear. They are the most ancient bear species. Asian black bears have long black coats and distincitve v-shaped yellow cresents on their chests. They range from Afghanistan and Pakistan, throughout the foothills of the Himalayas, to southeast Asia including Bangladesh and China. Asian black bears in northern latitudes hibernate in the winter, while their southern counterparts do not. As with most bears their diet is largely plant and insect matter, supplemented by fish and other small vertebrates. They are protected in China with strict laws against hunting without the proper permits.
The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
The Giant Panda is a highly recognizable bear, with a white face and body contrasted by black ears, legs, and facial markings. The Giant Panda is the most endangered of all bear species. It’s natural habitat, low-land central China, has been greatly disturbed. Conservationists estimate less than 2,000 individuals are still living in the wild. The Giant Panda are highly specialized folivores, meaning they eat only leaves. Bamboo shoots and leaves make up 99% of their diet.
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