Spectacled bear

Species profile

Name: the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) – also known as the Andean bear – is a mid-sized species of bear.

Appearance: their fur is typically black although they vary from jet black to almost red. They are known for their distinctive beige or ginger-coloured markings across their faces and chests, although not all have these ‘spectacle’ markings.

Size: males reach around 1.2 to 2.0 metres and weigh 100 to 200 kg, while females are typically around a third smaller and sometimes half their weight.

Diet: spectacled bears are more herbivorous than most other bears, eating cactuses, bromeliads, palm nuts, fruits, and bamboo hearts. Around 5% of their diet is meat.

Did you know: the children’s character Paddington Bear is a spectacled bear from Peru. Unlike Paddington, however, they usually retreat by climbing trees when they encounter people. Once up a tree, they are known to build platforms, perhaps to aid concealment, as well as to rest and store food on.

Location: spectacled bears are the only surviving bears native to South America and are found almost entirely in the Andes mountains. They live in cloud forests although they are adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats including dry forests, grasslands, and deserts.

Best places to see spectacled bears

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see spectacled bears are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
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Photo credit: Pixel-mixer under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay

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