View Full Version : Tuesday Trivia: Andean Bear

Star lover
April 3rd, 2018, 07:09 AM
There are no species of bear native to Africa or Antarctica, lots that are native to North America, Europe and Asia, and just one surviving species native to South America.

That would be the endangered spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear.


Recognizable by patches of light colored facial fur, which make them look like they're wearing eyeglasses, these bears live in high forests and grasslands around the Andes Mountains, including the protected land around the ancient sacred site of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Spectacled bears grow 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) long and stand 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) high at the shoulder. Males grow up to 30 percent larger than females, and weigh up to 340 pounds (154 kilograms). Females rarely grow heavier than 180 pounds (81 kilograms).

Fruits and bromeliads are favored foods, but spectacled bears also eat berries, grasses, bulbs, cactus flowers and small animals such as rodents, rabbits and birds. Near settlements, bears sometimes raid cornfields.

Spectacled bears climb trees and forage on the ground. They will build stick platforms to reach elevated food and tear open masses of bromeliads with their sharp claws.

Many Andean bears kept in zoos eat a dry-food mixture (dog chow), plus vegetables, including sweet potatoes and carrots, and fruits such as apples, oranges and grapes.

Spectacled bears are active primarily at night. During the day, spectacled bears sleep in secluded spots, such as in tree cavities, on tree platforms, between large, exposed tree roots, or in dens dug into cliff faces.

While their average age in human care is around 20 years, it is not uncommon for them to live into their late twenties or occasionally into their early thirties. The Andean bear's longevity in the wild is unknown.

Andean bears are thought to use vocal communication more than any other bear except the giant panda. They make unique vocalizations that are quite "un-bear-like": a shrill screech and a soft, purring sound. Mother bears may use different vocalizations to communicate with their cubs.


April 3rd, 2018, 08:29 AM
Thank you, Anita!