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General Description Edit
There are numerous species and subspecies of bear, although only nine have been mentioned, along with red pandas as a tangential tenth. They are widespread, appearing wherever there are weihrds, with the exception of polar bears who inhabit the North Pole. Bears are found on Atokhekwoi, Kalgrun, Istais, and Li'Kalla's island, as well as the North Pole. Common characteristics of bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails.
While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous, and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on vegetation, the other species are omnivorous. With the exception of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are solitary animals. They may be diurnal or nocturnal and have an excellent sense of smell. Despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they are adept runners, climbers, and swimmers. Bears use shelters, such as caves and logs, as their dens. Most species occupy their dens during the winter for a long period of hibernation, up to 100 days.
Bears as a species possess the extraordinary capability to soulwalk during their hibernation period, a power conferred on them by Seihdhara. Soulwalking is the process by which a separation between the soul and body of a creature is effected by the creature in question, allowing it travel great distances in short periods without being detected by beings unattuned to souls and without being hindered by physical obstacles. A soulwalking bear's body continues to exhibit signs of life and may act as an anchor preventing the soul from being drawn into the Vortex of Souls. It is possible that those bears that can soulwalk outside their hibernation period would be able to control their body simultaneously - this is suggested by the fact that soulwalking would give such bears 'a special edge when hunting, or when trying to avoid or escape a potential predator'.
Bears of different species vary in size. The polar bear is considered relatively middling in size, with adult males weighing 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lb) and measuring 2.4–3 metres (7 ft 10 in–9 ft 10 in) in total length. The sun bear, which ranges 25–65 kg (55–143 lb) in weight and 100–140 cm (39–55 in) in length, is one of the smaller bears. A sub-species of short-faced bear is largest species known to exist, weighing up to 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) and standing at 3.4 m (11 ft) tall. The body weight of bears varies throughout the year, as they build up fat reserves in the summer and autumn and lose weight during the winter.
Bears are generally bulky and robust animals, generally having short tails. They are sexually dimorphic with regard to size, with males usually being larger. Larger species tend to show increased levels of sexual dimorphism in comparison to smaller species. Relying as they do on strength rather than speed, bears have relatively short limbs with thick bones to support their bulk. The shoulder blades and the pelvis are correspondingly massive. The limbs are much straighter than those of big cats as there is no need for them to flex in the same way due to the differences in their gait. The strong forelimbs are used to catch prey, to excavate dens, to dig out burrowing animals, to turn over rocks and logs to locate prey, and to club large creatures.
Bears distribute their weight toward the hind feet, which makes them look lumbering when they walk. They are capable of bursts of speed but soon tire, and as a result mostly rely on ambush rather than the chase. Bears can stand on their hind feet and sit up straight with remarkable balance. Their front paws are flexible enough to grasp fruit and leaves. Bears' non-retractable claws are used for digging, climbing, tearing, and catching prey. The claws on the front feet are larger than those on the back and may be a hindrance when climbing trees; black bears are the most arboreal of the bears, and have the shortest claws. Pandas are unique in having a bony extension on the wrist of the front feet which acts as a thumb, and is used for gripping shoots as the animals feed. Other than the bold black-and-white pelage of the panda, bears tend to be uniform in colour, although some species may have markings on the chest or face.
Bears have small rounded ears so as to minimise heat loss, but neither their hearing or sight are particularly acute. They have colour vision that help them distinguish ripe nuts and fruits. They have an excellent sense of smell, better than that of dogs, or possibly any other mammal. They use smell for signalling to each other (either to warn off rivals or detect mates) and for finding food. Smell is the principal sense used by bears to locate most of their food, and they have excellent memories, which helps them to relocate places where they have found food before.
Bears are overwhelmingly solitary. The only times bears are encountered in small groups are mothers with young or occasional seasonal bounties of rich food (such as salmon runs). Fights between males can occur and older individuals may have extensive scarring, which suggests that maintaining dominance can be intense. With their acute sense of smell, bears can locate carcasses from several kilometres away. They use olfaction to locate other foods, encounter mates, avoid rivals and recognise their cubs.
Most bears are opportunistic omnivores and consume more plant than animal matter. They eat anything from leaves, roots, and berries to insects, carrion, fresh meat, and fish, and have digestive systems and teeth adapted to such a diet. At the extremes are the almost entirely herbivorous giant panda and the mostly carnivorous polar bear. However, all bears feed on any food source that becomes seasonally available.
When foraging for plants, bears choose to eat them at the stage when they are at their most nutritious and digestible, typically avoiding older grasses, sedges and leaves. Knowing when plants are ripe for eating is a learned behaviour. Berries may be foraged in bushes or at the tops of trees, and bears try to maximize the number of berries consumed versus foliage. In autumn, some bear species forage large amounts of naturally fermented fruits, which affects their behaviour. Smaller bears climb trees to obtain edible reproductive parts, such as acorns. Such parts can be very important to the diets of these species, and the failure of these to emerge may result in long-range movements by bears looking for alternative food sources. Brown bears, with their powerful digging abilities, commonly eat roots. The panda's diet is over 99% bamboo - a type of very large grass -, of 30 different species. Its strong jaws are adapted for crushing the tough stems of these plants, though they prefer to eat the more nutritious leaves. Bromeliads can make up to 50% of the diet of the spectacled bear, which also has strong jaws to bite them open. Sun bears use their long tongues to lick up both insects and honey. Fish are an important source of food for some species, and brown bears in particular gather in large numbers at salmon runs. Typically, a bear plunges into the water and seizes a fish with its jaws or front paws. Small burrowing mammals like rodents may be dug out and eaten.
The brown bear and both species of black bears sometimes take large ungulates, such as deer and bovids, mostly the young and weak. These animals may be taken by a short rush and ambush, though hiding young may be sniffed out and pounced on. The polar bear mainly preys on seals, stalking them from the ice or breaking into their dens. They primarily eat the highly digestible blubber. Large mammalian prey is typically killed by a bite to the head or neck, or (in the case of young) simply pinned down and mauled. Predatory behaviour in bears is typically taught to the young by the mother.
Bears are prolific scavengers and kleptoparasites, stealing food caches from rodents, and carcasses from other predators. For hibernating species, weight gain is important as it provides nourishment during winter dormancy. A brown bear can eat 41 kg (90 lb) of food and gain 2–3 kg (4.4–6.6 lb) of fat a day prior to entering its den.
Bears produce a number of vocal and non-vocal sounds. Tongue-clicking, grunting or chuffing may be made in cordial situations, such as between mothers and cubs or courting couples, while moaning, huffing, sorting or blowing air is made when an individual is stressed. Barking is produced during times of alarm, excitement or to give away the animal's position. Warning sounds include jaw-clicking and lip-popping, while teeth-chatters, bellows, growls, roars and pulsing sounds are made in aggressive encounters. Cubs may squeal, bawl, bleat or scream when in distress and make motor-like humming when comfortable or nursing. Bears sometimes communicate with visual displays such as standing upright, which exaggerates the individual's size. The chest markings of some species may add to this intimidating display. Staring is an aggressive act and the facial markings of spectacled bears and giant pandas may help draw attention to the eyes during agonistic encounters. Individuals may approach each other by stiff-legged walking with the head lowered. Dominance between bears is asserted by making a frontal orientation, showing the canine teeth, muzzle twisting and neck stretching. A subordinate may respond with a lateral orientation, by turning away and dropping the head and by sitting or lying down.
Bears may mark territory by rubbing against trees and other objects which may serve to spread their scent. This is usually accompanied by clawing and biting the object. Bark may be spread around to draw attention to the marking post. Pandas are known to mark objects with urine and a waxy substance from their anal glands. Polar bears leave behind their scent in their tracks which allow individuals to keep track of one another in the vast Arctic wilderness.
The mating system of bears – no doubt in keeping with Seihdhara’s time with the grizzlys – can be described as a form of polygyny, promiscuity, and serial monogamy. During the breeding season, males take notice of females in their vicinity and females become more tolerant of males. A male bear may visit a female continuously over a period of several days or weeks, depending on the species, to test her reproductive state. During this time period, males try to prevent rivals from interacting with their mate. Courtship may be brief, although in some species courting pairs may engage in wrestling, hugging, mock fighting and vocalising. Ovulation is induced by mating, which can last up to 30 minutes depending on the species.
Gestation typically lasts 6–9 months, including delayed implantation, and litter size numbers up to four cubs. Giant pandas may give birth to twins but they can only suckle one young and the other is left to die. In species inhabiting the north of Galbar, birth takes place during winter dormancy. Cubs are born blind and helpless with at most a thin layer of hair, relying on their mother for warmth. The milk of the female bear is rich in fat and antibodies and cubs may suckle for up to a year after they are born. By 2–3 months, cubs can follow their mother outside the den. They usually follow her on foot, but in some species bear cubs may ride on their mother's back. Male bears play no role in raising young. Infanticide, where an adult male kills the cubs of another, occurs in polar bears, brown bears, some black bears but not in other species. Males kill young to bring the female into oestrus. Cubs may flee and the mother defends them even at the cost of her life.
In some species, offspring may become independent around the next spring, though some may stay until the female successfully mates again. Bears reach sexual maturity shortly after they disperse; at around 3–6 years depending on the species. Some species of brown bear, red bears, cave bears, and polar bears may continue to grow until they are 11 years old. Lifespan may also vary between species. The brown bear can live an average of 25 years.
Bears in the northern regions of Galbar hibernate in the winter. During hibernation, the bear's metabolism slows down, its body temperature decreases slightly, and its heart rate slows from a normal value of 55 to just 9 beats per minute. Bears normally do not wake during their hibernation, and can go the entire period without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating. A fecal plug is formed in the colon, and is expelled when the bear wakes in the spring. If they have stored enough body fat, their muscles remain in good condition, and their protein maintenance requirements are met from recycling waste urea. Female bears give birth during the hibernation period, and are roused when doing so. In this state all bears can soulwalk.
List of Bear Species and Subspecies Edit
Northern black bear Edit
Cinnamon bear Edit
A highly variable colour morph and a subspecies of the Northern black bear, native to the central and western areas of the Kalgrun Weihrd. The most striking difference between a cinnamon bear and any other black bear is its brown or red-brown fur, reminiscent of cinnamon. Cinnamon bears are omnivorous. Their diet includes fruit, vegetation, nuts, honey and occasionally insects and meat, varying from other subspecies because of regional habitat differences. Cubs weigh approximately 230 grams (8 oz) at birth, with adults weighing between 92.1 and 270 kilograms (203 and 595 lb). The life span for this bear is a maximum of 30 years. Cinnamon bears are excellent climbers, good runners and powerful swimmers. They are mostly nocturnal, though they are sometimes active during daylight hours. The various colour morphs are frequently intermixed in the same family; hence, it is a common occurrence to see, for example, either a black-coloured female with brown or red-brown cubs, a brown-coloured female with black or red-brown cubs or a female of any one of the three colours with a black cub, a brown cub and a red-brown cub. The bears hibernate during the winter months.
Blaze black bear Edit
These are a species of black bear that ranges in the south of Kalgrun. Blaze black bears are typically large-bodied with shiny black fur, a short tail and many have brown fur on their muzzles. Summer moulting may cause them to look brown. A white chest patch, called a blaze, is found in the population. Females generally weigh about half as much as males. Average adults have a length of between 4 feet (120 cm) and 6 feet (180 cm), standing between 2.5 feet (76 cm) and 3.5 feet (110 cm) high at the shoulder. They are mainly solitary, except when females have dependent cubs or pairings during mating season. Although they are solitary mammals, they are not territorial, and typically do not defend their range from other bears, but will defend a food source from other bears. Black bears have good eyesight (especially at close range), acute hearing and an excellent sense of smell.
Glacier bear Edit
A species of black bear unique to Li'Kalla's island that is also referred to as the Blue Bear due to its unique silver-blue or grey hair.
Istais black bear Edit
a morphologically distinct subspecies of the Northern black bear. The most significant morphological differences are its large size, massive cranium and large molars.
Northern white bear Edit
Also known as the spirit bear, this is a rare subspecies of the Northern black bear living on the southernmost islands of west Kalgrun, as well as south-western Kalgrun. While most spirit bears are black, there are between 1000 and 1500 fully white individuals. The white variant is most common on the two islands where 30% of the population are white. Spirit bears are not albinos as they still have pigmented skin and eyes. White spirit bears breed more with white spirt bears, and black spirit bears breed more with black spirit bears. The reason is unclear, but it may be because young bears imprint on their mother's fur colour. Spirit bears are omnivorous for most of the year, subsisting mainly on herbage and berries except during autumn salmon migrations, when they become obligate predators. White bears are 35% more successful than black bears in capturing salmon. The white fur of the bear is harder to spot under water by fish than black fur is, so the bear can catch fish easier. On some islands, white spirit bears have more marine derived nutrients in their fur, indicating that white spirit bears eat more salmon than the black spirit bears.
Majori black bear Edit
The subspecies does not have a substantially different appearance than the normal Northern black bear, but the skull is relatively long, narrow and flat and the molars are proportionately large.
Sleeping black bear Edit
This bear occupies south-western Kalgrun and is generally larger than normal northern black bears, ranging in size from 90 to 270 kilograms (200 to 600 lb) and averaging 135 kilograms (298 lb). It also has an extraordinarily long hibernation period.
Southern black bear Edit
Central Mountainplains black bear Edit
A subspecies of the Southern black bear occurring in the mountains of central Atokhekwoi. It has an unusually thin coat for a Southern black bear, but this is because it is found in a warmer climate than most of the othersubspecies, which are found in the much colder mountains of the east and northeast. It is also more frugivorous than the other subspecies, and it loves to eat figs and bananas. is smaller than the other subspecies and is morevariable, and may be from reddish orange to deep black. It has a darker chestpatch than the other subspecies, and that has a thinner head but still has the flanks branching from its head. It eats fruits, insects, and small reptiles. It is also known for breaking logs in the hunt of grubs. Though they are omnivorous, their preferred diet is fruits, especially olives and ber.
The dog bear Edit
The dog bear is sturdily built and has a round head, short neck, small eyes, and long snout. Its head measures 26–35 cm in length and 40–60 cm in circumference. Its ears are 8–12 cm long. Its snout resembles a dog's, hence its name. Its tail is inconspicuous and short — usually less than 10 cm long. Its body is well covered with rough, glossy, black hair, which can grow over 10 cm long around the neck. The tip of its chin is white. On the chest, there is a distinctive yellowish or white mark that is shaped like a "V" character or a crescent moon. This earns a nickname — "moon bear". They feed primarily on leaves, buds, fruits, roots, although they also eat insects, small animals, and carrion, succulent vegetation in spring, soft fruits rich in carbohydrate in summer, and fat-loaded hard mast (e.g., acorn and walnut) in autumn/winter. The dog bear lives in the mountainous weihrds in north-western Atokhekwoi. In the winter, rather than hibernating like other southern black bears in more temperate areas, they move to lower elevations to find food. They are active for 54–57% of daylight hours, and more active during summer (60%) and autumn/winter (60%) than spring (47%). They are primarily active during the day in the spring and summer; and increasingly active at night in the autumn/winter when acorns are abundant. They are solitary and usually move around extensively except during the mating season or when caring for cubs. Dog bears are also the only bears that make temporary nests. Although they look clumsy and slow, dog black bears can easily reach speeds of 30–40 km per hour. They are also skilled at swimming and climbing. Even though bears can be aggressive, they rarely attack without provocation. As solitary animals, dog black bears do not stay in fixed shelters, except for females during their breeding period. The bear's courtship period is very brief. A male trails after a female for a few days. After mating, they return to their solitary lives. Females reach sexual maturity at age 3–4 and males reach sexual maturity at age 4–5, usually one year later than females. Pregnancy lasts for 6–7 months. Each birth produces 1–3 cubs. Cubs will be nursed by their mother for about six months. When they are strong enough to leave the den, bear cubs will remain with the mother for approximately two years, until the mother enters the next cycle of estrus and drives the cubs off. This forms the 2-year reproductive cycle of dog bears.
Himalayan black bear Edit
Japanese black bear Edit
Ussuri black bear Edit
Brown bear Edit
Alaska Peninsula brown bear Edit
Ursus arctos californicus Edit
Atlas bear Edit
Bergman's bear Edit
Blue bear Edit
California grizzly bear Edit
Cantabrian brown bear Edit
Eurasian brown bear Edit
European brown bear Edit
Gobi bear Edit
Grizzly bear Edit
Himalayan brown bear Edit
Kamchatka brown bear Edit
Kodiak bear Edit
Marsican brown bear (critically endangered) Edit
Mexican grizzly bear Edit
East Siberian brown bear Edit
Sitka brown bear Edit
Stickeen brown bear Edit
Syrian brown bear Edit
Ussuri brown bear Edit
Red Bear Edit
Hoofland Bear Edit