Like people, bears walk with a “plantigrade,” or flat-footed walk. Most other large mammals, including dogs, horses, and elephants, walk on their toes. And did you know that black bears aren’t just black? They have a variety of color phases, including white and cinnamon. The Kodiak bear is the biggest bear, but it starts out very, very small–less than a pound, which means its weight will multiply by 1,000 times or more by adulthood.
Bears have behaviors that may surprise you, too. Polar bears, for example, have been known to cover their noses and mouths with a paw to help them better blend into the snow while they hunt. And after it breaks into a termite mound, a sloth bear purses its protruding lower lip and blows hard to get rid of the dust.
People and bears have a long-standing relationship. Before lions were known in Europe, the bear was considered the king of beasts! When we realize that the most easily recognized constellation in the night sky, the Big Dipper, is officially known as Ursa Major (or the Great Bear), we have started connecting the dots between people and bears.