Do you know your bears?
Did you know that Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to four different types of bear?
Sloth Bears (Balawat and Shiva)
Fast Fact: The sloth bear gets its name because of its ability to hang upside down from branches like a sloth.
The small and shaggy sloth bear is unique among bears because insects are its primary food source. Its distinctive physical features make eating insects easy: a flexible grey snout acts as a vacuum cleaner and sucks termites or grubs from trees; a protruding lower lip and narrow tongue help in foraging; long, curved claws allow for tree climbing and hanging. Sloth bears do not hibernate and are primarily nocturnal feeders, but the very loud noises they make while feeding attracts hunters and may be a factor in the species’ population decline. Other than distinctive long, shaggy fur, sloth bears can be identified because of a white horseshoe shaped marking on their chest.
Andean Bears (Alfred and Cayambe)
FAST FACT: Andean bears are most comfortable in trees and even build their own sleeping “hammocks” out of foliage that they can then eat.
The only bear species in South America, the Andean bear is sometimes known as the “spectacled bear” for the white markings around its eyes. The white or cream markings are different for each bear; they can extend onto the head and chest or even be absent in some individuals. Andean bears are solitary and elusive and spend most of their days in trees, even sleeping and eating up high. Habitat loss and deforestation threaten this species, and an accurate assessment of the population numbers and range is crucial to securing its future. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo works with Future for Wildlife partner Andean Bear Conservation Alliance (ABCA) to produce an accurate assessment of the distribution and status of the remaining Andean bear populations using camera trapping and trackers in the Andes.
Black Bear ("V" and Daisy)
Fast Fact: Even though they are called black bears, their coat can be blue-gray or blue-black, brown and even sometimes white.
They range in length from 5-6’, weighing 225 lbs for males and 130 for females. The front claws are longer than the rear claws. Black bears have small, brown (blue at birth) eyes, rounded ears, long tan snouts, short tails and are covered in shaggy fur. They are good swimmers and tree climbers and have an excellent sense of smell and good close-up vision. Cubs are born in January or early February and weigh .5 - 1lb at birth and will stay with their mothers for approximately one year.
Grizzly Bear (Cody and Cooper)
Fast Fact: Grizzly bears CAN climb trees. It is a common misconception that they can not.
Grizzly bear fur color ranges from cream to cinnamon and brown to black. Grizzlies have a characteristic and distinguishing shoulder hump of flesh and muscle. Their eyesight is not keen but their hearing is more sensitive than man's and their sense of smell is phenomenal. Grizzlies can pick up the scent of carrion from distances of 15-20 miles.
The grizzly's reproductive rate is one of the lowest known for mammals. Litters are never more than 2 cubs; a sow produces young only once every three years. Cubs stay in the den with their mother until they emerge in the spring. Studies suggest that only 20-50% of cubs born survive to adulthood.
Check our our bears in Wilderness Trek!
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