Wikijunior:Wild Animals/Bear

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Bears are large animals that like to eat honey and scratch with their claws on trees.

Bears come in lots of colors, including: black, brown and cinnamon. Only black bears are currently found in the western part of the United States. Black bears vary greatly in size and weight. Adult bears vary in weight from 125 to 450 pounds or more and male bears are usually larger than females of the same age. When on all four legs, black bears measure about three feet high at the shoulders and when upright on their hind legs, they may approach five to six feet tall. Black bears are known to live up to 20 years of age in the wild. They are very agile, are good swimmers, climb trees very well, and can run at speeds of up to 35 mph.

When humans and bears meet...

Most conflict between humans and black bears arise as the result of human supplied foods. Things that attract bears are human food, human garbage, and pets. Some ways to keep a bear from attacking are: Keep your camp clean, never leave human food, garbage or pet food around or unsecured, don't cook in your camp or in sleeping area, leave all scented things away from sleeping areas and from bears, remove all scented clothes or articles before going to sleep.

If you meet a bear you should...

Remain calm, don't run, slowly back away. Make lots of noise. Stand up straight, don't kneel or bend, wave everything possible. Don't try to corner the bear. Back away from cubs, never go near them, or stand between a bear and it's cub.

Bear behavior

Bears are curious, intelligent and potentially dangerous animals, but undue fear of bears can endanger both bears and people. Many bears are killed each year by people who are afraid of them. Respecting bears and learning proper behavior in their territory will help so that if you encounter a bear, neither of you will suffer needlessly from the experience. Most bears tend to avoid people. In most cases, if you give a bear the opportunity to do the right thing, it will.