A grizzly bear with three cubs


Bears are one of the most recognisable and iconic families of animals. The eight living species include the spectacled, sun and sloth bears alongside the more familiar polar bear and giant panda. Young bears are born in protective dens as they are very small, blind and deaf. But they are not helpless for long, developing and gaining weight rapidly.

Most bears are very general in their habitats; they can be found roaming Arctic tundra, tropical forests and even deserts. Six species also have an opportunistic and varied diet relying on the habitat and season for their selection of animals and plants. The two dietary specialists are the mostly carnivorous polar bear and the bamboo-eating giant panda.

Scientific name: Ursidae

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the Bears taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

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When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

BBC News about Bears

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