You’re probably familiar with the cute, cuddly fur-bearing creatures known as bears, but did you know that there’s also a hairless bear? It’s true—the hairless bear is not only real, but it’s also adorable. Its fluffy exterior may be completely lacking in hair and its ears are even lower than average, but this creature retains all of the other characteristics of its furry counterparts. If you’ve ever wanted to cuddle with an adorable, hairless animal (or just wanted to see one), then check out these facts about the hairless bear!
Why a Hairless Bear?
Have you ever wondered why there are no hairless bears? It’s because they’re hideous and would never survive in the wild, right? Well, that’s not true! There have been all kinds of hairless creatures throughout history, ranging from hairless lizards to fish to dogs and cats and of course, bears! In fact, the first known hairless bear was found in Germany in 1849 – six years before the first zoo opened in England
Where do they live?
The most widely accepted theory of where they live is that they live in Alaska, specifically between both coasts. This has never been proven but researchers do believe that a trace amount of these bears do live here. They are only around 7 feet tall and 500 pounds which makes them very easy to miss. It’s best to look for them in caves and small forest areas with trees. They have been seen swimming though some water so you may find one on a small island but it is highly unlikely. You won’t find any hairless bears at your local circus, but you will find some in zoos all over North America. Of course, that’s not what we mean. We want to help you answer why someone would want to be hairless, and also how they accomplish it.
What do they eat?
To keep warm, hairless bears must eat a lot. They mainly eat starchy foods such as berries and other plants that can help to keep them warm in cold weather. If berries aren’t available they will turn to other sources of food, including grains and nuts. They are able to digest these meals with ease because of their close resemblance to plant materials found in their natural environment. Stomach acid is quite mild compared to other animals because they do not have fur.
Are there any threats to their survival?
The IUCN considers some types of bears to be vulnerable, including: Brown bears (including all subspecies), Asiatic black bears, sloth bears and sun bears. On the other hand, grizzly bears in Alaska, American black bears in eastern North America and polar bears are classified as least concern by IUCN – meaning they are not currently at risk of extinction. Their numbers continue to grow.
Where Can I Get One?
Not to worry, you won’t have to go far to get your hands on a hairless bear. The International Species Information Service lists three places in North America where these unusual critters are located. The following is a list of areas where a hairless bear can be found: Smithsonian National Zoological Park – Washington D.C., Maryland; Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species – New Orleans, Louisiana; and Jackson Zoological Park – Mississippi, United States.
Most people associate bears with forests, but most species in fact prefer grasslands. It’s not a myth; black bears really do like to sunbathe on rocks. Most bears are nocturnal, though exceptions include Asian black bears and polar bears, which are active during daylight hours. Also interesting: Despite their cuddly appearance, all North American grizzlies are extremely aggressive if they feel threatened.
The best way to observe them
The best way to observe bears is by allowing them to observe you! Bears are very curious and will almost always approach humans if given an opportunity. Do not be afraid, instead stand still and allow them to wander around you. This gives you an opportunity to get great pictures of both adults and cubs, as well as view their behavior at close range. Some bears may not come within visual distance but will stick their nose into your tent or backpack, giving you a clear idea of just how powerful these animals can be.
The dangers of approaching them
Because they have few natural predators, black bears are usually bold and unafraid of people. They often act like they own their turf, trying to convince you that it’s not OK to be there. Don’t turn your back on them—keep an eye on their actions and always watch your step.