The Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) is a medium-sized mammal. It is also known as the Asiatic Black Bear, Moon Bear, and White-Chested Bear. It is closely related to the American Black Bear.
The Asian Black Bear is stocky and muscular with black, silky fur. It has a light brown nose and a distinct white patch on its chest. It has bell-shaped ears, which stick out sideways from its head. It has powerful jaws. Its heel pads are large, and it has long, hooked claws for climbing and digging. It has dark eyes, but its eyesight is poor.
It grows to 70-100 centimetres (28-39 inches) at shoulder height. Its tail is 11 centimetres (4 inches) long.
It is native to Asia, in the Himalayan mountains, northern India, the Korean Peninsula, north-eastern China, eastern Russia, the islands of Japan, and Taiwan.
It prefers deciduous forests, mixed forests, and thornbush forests.
It is arboreal, living in trees (not on the ground). It has a strong upper body, which enables it to climb trees. Its long, strong claws help it to climb the bark of a tree.
It is diurnal, active mainly during the day. It is mostly herbivorous, eating plants and vegetation. It sometimes eats insects and worms.
It hibernates in winter, usually in caves, dens, or hollow logs.
The female Asian Black Bear is pregnant for 200-240 days, before giving birth to 1-4 live young, called cubs. The cubs can walk four days after birth, and become independent at 2-3 years of age.
The average lifespan of the Asian Black Bear is 25 years.
[Location of photographs: Berlin Zoo, Germany]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM