Bear, a large, heavily built mammal with shaggy fur and a short tail. Formerly, bears were widely found in the northern forests of Europe, Asia, and North America. Due to intensive clearing of land for farms, they now live only in remote areas, in forests and on mountains. Bears are hunted for their pelts and meat. Unprovoked attacks on humans are rare, but all bears are dangerous when wounded or when their cubs are threatened.

BearsBears live in remote forest and mountain regions.

Because of their playfulness, bears are popular with visitors at zoos. There are many stories about bears—especially children's stories, such as the familiar "Three Bears." Small children often have toy bears, called teddy bears (named after Theodore Roosevelt, who was a noted bear hunter). American Indians regarded bears as supernatural, and some primitive peoples, such as the Ainu of Japan, for example, worshiped bears.

Where in the World Do Bears Live?

Most of the world’s bears live north of the equator.

North America is home to grizzlies and other big brown bears. But the most common North American bears are American black bears.

There are big brown bears in Europe and Asia, too. Asiatic black bears live in Asia, as you might expect. Asia is also home to sloth bears and sun bears.

Polar bears live on the ice fields of the Arctic. This is the region around the North Pole.

The only kind of bear that lives in South America is the spectacled bear. No wild bears live in Africa, Australia, or Antarctica.

Facts in brief about bears
Names: Male, boar or he-bear; female, sow or she-bear; young, cub; group, pack or sloth.
Gestation period: 7 to 9 months, depending on the species.
Number of newborn: 1 to 4, usually 2.
Length of life: 15 to 30 years.
Where found: Arctic, Asia, Europe, North and South America.
Scientific classification: Bears belong to the class Mammalia, and the order Carnivora. They make up the bear family, Ursidae.