Nature has been somewhat conservative in giving us bear species on the scene. We have primarily three species in the United States, the polar, brown and black bear. The brown bear has subspecies such as the grizzly, Alaskan Brown and the Kodiak bear. At one time polar bears and brown bears were the same, diverging about 500,000 years ago. The European Brown bear is another subspecies. Because of changes in the environment incidences of polar and brown bear interbreeding have risen, with the hybrid brown-polar bear. Black bear roams North America as far south as Mexico and north into Canada and Alaska. Black bear is the smallest and possibly the most successful of the bear species. Of course, there is also an Eurasian black bear as well. Polar bears tend to be the largest land predators on earth.
Sloth Bear Attack
India boasts the bug eating sloth bear. Termites and ants are the principle fare that these bears live on. The only bear species that is a primarily an insectivore, with fruit making up for the rest of the calories. Sloth bears are aggressive living in the most populated country in the world. Recorded incidents of attacks on humans by sloth bear is fairly high in comparison to other bear species, and with territory encroachment are increasing. Sri Lanka also has a subspecies of the sloth bear. Next to man, the sloth bears are also occasionally hunted by tigers and leopards. It is listed as vulnerable and is a smaller bear of about 320 pounds.
The only other bear species is the Panda that has become essentially a folivore subsisting on bamboo for about 90% of its intake. Of all the bears, the Panda is the most endangered and its habitat is rapidly shrinking with current habitat unable to support the current population. Listed vulnerable.
Extinct Cave Bear
The cave bear is an extinct relative of the brown bear, with divergence guessed to about 1.2-1.4 million years ago, but evidence of cave-brown bear hybridization exists. The last of the species died out about 20,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. Some of these bruins tipped the scales at as high as 2,200 lbs. (that is a real bear) but most were like the modern brown bear.
Short Faced Bear
While the cave bear terrorized our ancestors in Europe, the short-faced bear was the apex predator in the Americas and survived until about 11,000 years ago. Clocking in at about one short ton it topped 8-10 feet standing average up to 11-12 feet for some individuals. Claw marks have been documented at the 15-foot level in caves indicating at least a 12 foot bear. Highly carnivorous these guys put down about 35 lbs. of meat per day. Though of course with most bears that are omnivorous they probably chowed some plant material as well. Long legs indicate they could run up to 40 mph.
Are Bears Dangerous?
So much for the bruin catalog. Why do we like bears? There is something endearing about them, though it probably is the cubs and teddy bears do resemble cubs far more than adult bears. Are bears dangerous? It is known that they can be aggressive, polar and grizzly more so than other species. They may be omnivores but they are apex predators. The polar bear is the most aggressive hunter and probably eats less plant life in comparison to meat than the other species. Polar bears have been known to hunt humans. Most bears will avoid people if possible, but if surprised, especially a mother with cubs, even the diminutive black bear can be dangerous. And polar bears do not hibernate.
Custom Chainsaw Carvings in Las Vegas, Nevada, Helena, Montana & Nampa, Idaho
Like most of our neighbors that share the world there is a spot for the bear. It is known that we have co-existed for many years. The grizzly was respected by both tribal members and mountain men as they moved west. Probably no other critter has the lore attributed to it than the bear. Stylized, natural, young or old carvings can be had. Something to consider is a totem pole, with many bears and critters. Call Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings to view our inventory or place a custom order.