The letter “B” is for “Bear”
There are eight different species of bears in the world – Brown Bears, American Black Bears, Asian Black Bears, Giant Panda Bears, Sloth Bears, Sun Bears, Spectacled Bears, and Polar Bears.
Sadly, of the eight bear species, six are now currently threatened with extinction, primarily due to loss of habitat and climate change. Only the American Black Bears and Brown Bears are not on the endangered list.
Did you know . . . .
- Polar Bears are wonderful swimmers, better than you or me, and can swim up to 30 miles in search of food. Some researchers say polar bears can swim up to 200 miles!
- Polar Bears are not really white, it just appears that way so they can hide and camouflage into their environment when hunting. Their coat is so well camouflaged in Arctic environments that polar bears can sometimes pass as a snowdrift. Oddly enough, the polar bear’s coat actually has no white pigment in it. The polar bear’s skin is black to absorb the sun’s rays for body warmth, and its hairs are hollow for insulation against the cold. It all just works to appear “white.” Isn’t it amazing all the things Mother Nature does?
- Bears have amazing noses and a sense of smell, one of the best of all animals. They can smell food 20 miles away!
- Bears are related to Walruses, Seals, and Sea Lions! Do you think that’s maybe why they can swim so very well?
- Koalas are not bears, even though most people know them as “Koala Bears.” Koalas are in the Marsupial family, which also includes kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and opossums.
- American Black Bears are not only black, but also can be brown, dark brown, reddish-brown, cinnamon-colored, bluish-black, bluish-grey, and even blonde. American Black Bears come in more colors than any other North American mammal. Most of the bears east of the Mississippi River all are black, with the more colorful varieties in the west and north.
- The Polar Bear is the largest bear in the world, but a close second is the Kodiak Bear, in the Brown Bear family.
- Bears live on every continent in the world except for Antarctica, Africa, and Australia.
Bears may help humans travel to Mars and outer space! While many think that bears in the north “sleep” or “hibernate” thru the winter months, they are actually awake but in a very reduced metabolic state. Their breathing and heart rate slows significantly, and they go months without performing the usual body functions. Scientists are studying bears to see if humans can be put into a state of hibernation for long space voyages in the future!
Bears play an important role in the environment, cleaning up other animal carcasses and helping to keep populations of grazing animals like deer, elk, and moose in balance.
Except for the Panda Bears. They just mostly sit around and munch on bamboo all day, eating from 26 to 84 pounds every day. But they are so cute no one seems to mind that that is all they do!
Would you like to color a Bear? Simply ‘Right Click’ on an image, hit ‘Save Image As’ to save a local copy, and then print out as many as you want!
BONUS — The letter “B” is for Bee, too! As in Honey Bees and Bumble Bees. Bees are important to the environment because they not only pollinate pretty flowers for us to see but also many, many plants that produce the foods we eat. Without “bees” to pollinate the plants, fruit, and nut trees, we might not “be” here ourselves!
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