The Story Of The Bear:
Story Of The Bear
American Black Bear.
Ugly Sloth Bear
Himalayan Black Bear
A Funny Little Bear
A Bear That Wears Spectacles
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Arctic explorers have had many strange and exciting experiences with the great white bear that lives among the ice and snows of the polar regions in both hemispheres. On the north coasts of America and Asia the Polar bear is found everywhere and becomes more and more numerous as one travels northward.
The Polar bear is one of the largest of the bear group, frequently attaining the length of nine feet. It retains its white color summer and winter. Its head is longer and smaller than the other species of bears and the soles of its feet are covered by long hairs, which give it a better hold on the ice.
It is rare that more than two are seen together except where the female is accompanied by her young. Their principal food consists of the seal and walrus, but they also feed upon vegetable substances, such as seaweed, grass and lichens. They display great skill and cunning in the capture of their prey. The bear having discovered a seal asleep on an ice-floe immediately slips into the water if he himself be on another ice-floe. Diving, he swims under water for a distance, then reappears and takes observations. Alternately diving and swimming, he approaches close to his victim. Before his final disappearance he seems to measure the intervening distance, and when he next appears it is alongside of the seal. Then, either getting on the ice, or pouncing upon the seal as it tries to escape, he secures it. Both seals and porpoises are not unfrequently met with, bearing the marks of a bear's claws upon their backs.
Formerly the sight of a bear created great fear among Arctic travelers, but now the walrus-hunters do not hesitate to attack with a lance consider-able numbers of bears. It is only occasionally that a Polar bear will attack first. The pure white ones from the largest to the smallest are timid. The most dangerous, other than females with cubs, is a large-sized male bear of a yellowish, dirty color. Another sort is the small-sized hear, neither white nor yellow, but rather dirty-looking. These are the best runners.
Unlike the others, the Polar bear does not attempt to hug, but bites.
There are many instances of men, who while watching or skinning seals, have had its rough paws laid on their shoulders. Their only chance then has been to feign being dead, and manage to shoot it while the bear was sitting at a distance watching its intended victim.
The pace of a Polar bear is rapid and they have been known to overtake Esquimaux and other Indians in a fair chase. Their fleetness depends, how-ever, largely upon their condition at the time, the thinner they are the greater being their speed. The weight of a large and fat Polar bear is estimated at from 600 to 70o pounds.
In the Hudson's Bay district, the female bears proceed to their winter hibernation for the purpose of producing their young at the end of September or beginning of October, and return in March, April, or May. The hibernation always takes place some distance inland, and the males accompany their consorts to their resting places, after which they come back to the coast, where they hunt throughout the winter. Generally two cubs are produced at a birth, but the number may be sometimes diminished to one, and occasionally increased to three.