Wednesday, September 8, 2010

American Black Bear - Part 2

Ah! Sorry I'm so late with this blog, errands kept me out the entire day. No worries though, we're right back on track. Alright, let's get some more American Black Bear facts going:

What to black bears eat? You probably already know, like all bears, they are omnivores (they eat plants and animals.) The American Black Bear's diet is usually tilted towards the vegetation side since meat can be scarce, typically subsisting upon roots, tender plant shoots, budding tree twigs and various berries. Their protein is derived primarily from bugs such as beetles and the bee larvae found in honey (another well-known bear favorite.) When meat such as small mammals and fish are available, the bear will eat them but it is usually only if it is easily available. They will typically scavenge by picking through campsites, trash cans and road kill, which is the primary reason people encounter bears in the wild.

The American Black Bear has a diverse range of sizes. A full grown adult male can weight between 175-500 pounds, a female will weigh between 100-300 pounds. They will typically stand between 2-3 feet tall when they are on all fours and when stood upright, can reach 6 feet of height.

Black bears will mate during early summer. Female bears typically mature around 2-4 years of age. They will produce an average litter of 2 cubs every other year, which will be birthed in the middle of the winter season. These cubs will stay with the mother for a year. They are born completely blind and unable to walk. American Black Bears have very long lifespans in the wild, they can typically reach an age of 25-30 years of age, even going beyond that if held in captivity. Other animals held in captivity only have a lifespan of roughly 10 years.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

American Black Bear

I have been posting a lot about polar bears recently so I figured I should put out some information on other bears to balance it out some. Today I will be talking about the American Black Bear. I chose to talk about this bear today because most of you have a good chance of encountering one or have encountered one in the past. Let's begin!

This is a map from Wikipedia that represents the current proliferation of the American Black Bear. The scientific name for this bear is Euarctos americanus. This bear has numerous subspecies, up to 16 currently recorded, which can make identifying the species a challenge. The black bear isn't exclusively black in color, it can vary from black to brown and even to white!

They are considered partial hibernators, because they do wake up from time to time if disturbed. It is considered more of a "winter lethargy" where a bear can go up to 100 days without eating, drinking, urinating, defecating or exercising! Their heart rate will drop from a healthy 40-50 beats per minute all the way down to 8 beats per minute. Their hibernation cycles have been under study by groups such as NASA, who are interested in learning more about how they survive so long without organ damage. They hope to be able to reproduce such an ability in humans one day for the purposes of deep space travel.

More information on black bears tomorrow!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Purple Bear

Apparently I'm 7 years late to the party but when I saw these pictures I just had to share them. This purple polar bear's name is Pelusa. She lives at the zoo in Mendoza, Argentina. When Pelusa developed dermatitis, the veterinarian at the zoo gave her a medicine that ended up turning her purple for a few days. When people found out about this, zoo attendance is said to have jumped by 50%. Check it out:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How does a polar bear know what apples is?

Disregarding the grammatical implications of the question, I've always pondered this. At first glance, it is an attempt to question how a bear would understand that a object that does not exist naturally in their native environment is, in fact, food that should be consumed. One would assume, accurately, that the bear's extremely acute sense of smell gives away the sweet aroma of apples. But let us disregard for a moment the sense of smell, since perhaps "sweet" is not even a natural smell/taste that would exist in the Arctic, nor perhaps be equated to food.

What this is alluding to is the fact that bear can SEE the red of the apples, possibly equating it to a freshly slain ringed or bearded seal. Tests have shown bears (not just polar bears) to have not only the ability to differentiate bright and dark colors, but actually discriminate between varying hues of multiple colors acurately, quickly and consistently. This would show that bears actually use their ability to see colors as part of their everyday existence. As an aside, this article here also shows that the tests performed on the bear's color senses indicated a learning ability that exceeded that of dogs and even chimpanzees! This being the case, implying one is "smarter than your average bear" is a high compliment indeed.


I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone thus far that has decided to follow my little blog on bears. I also want to thank everyone who has posted comments on my few measley articles. It makes me happy to know you guys are getting something out of the information I post. I'll be trying to get new content in here daily, at no particular time of the day since sometimes my, uh.. schedule, ends up causing me wake up at the crack of noon *cough*. Also, I'll make it a priority to visit your blog as well. So once again, thank you.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blog layout stuff

So, I'm still messing around with the page colors and maybeee the layout / adspace crap so bear with me *pun possibly intended*. In any case, I'll hopefully get it figured out and stop hurting people's eyes while they view my blog.

And here is a bear punching another bear in the dick.

Polar Bear Blues

Ever notice that a polar bear's tongue is a blue / black color? That is because their entire body is the same tone! Their skin is a dark tone because darker colors absorb light more readily than lighter ones. Their hair is actually transparent and hollow. These hollow hairs, made mostly out of Keratin (a material that makes up the outer layer of your skin), trap the sunlight heat hitting the bear and channel it down towards the body to keep it warm. The hairs have also been known to collect algae from time to time and the bear will appear a green color: