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A bear is a large mammal of the order Carnivora, family Ursidae.

Bears are dangerous no matter where they live; in the forest, on mountains or even in the cold North Pole. Bears may claw you if you try to feed them. Whether they are big, strong, small, or tame, bears will eat almost anything -- including people; they are omnivores. The grizzly is the most dangerous bear, but the white-furred polar bear will kill people, too. The Eskimos hunt polar bears for food and furs. Many bears hibernate in the winter. Hunting laws have been passed in many areas of the world to protect the big bears from hunters. Bears in captivity can be trained to dance, box, or unicycle, but it is controversial to use animals in this way.

There has been much discussion as to whether the Giant Panda belongs to the bear family or the raccoon family. The pandas are closely related to both. Recent DNA analysis seems to indicate that the Giant Panda is more closely related to other bears and the Red Panda is more closely related to the raccoon.

See also: Koala (which is not a bear), bear-baiting

Further Reading

  • Bears of the World, Terry Domico, Photographs by Terry Domico and Mark Newman, Facts on File, Inc, 1988, hardcover, ISBN 0816015368

In the gay community, bear is a term used to describe a large, hairy man, usually bearded. See bear community.
A bear market is where the value of stocks listed on a stock exchange generally fall.

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