Bears are omnivores just like people. They will hunt animals such as baby deer, caribou, and elk but they are also scavengers, which means that they like leftovers and are happy to eat carrion. Carrion is the decaying flesh of an animal that was killed and left behind by other predators or an animal which died of natural causes.
For bears that hibernate, large animals that died during the winter and are preserved by the icy cold, become a very important food source. Bears are very hungry after a long winter sleep and fast food is a blessing for them. Nursing mothers will also need to get their strength up with a nutritious meal if they want to protect their cubs. As scavengers, bears will go through garbage cans and are often spotted at garbage dumps and campsites. Insects, nuts, berries, sap, branches and roots are a big part of a bear’s diet. Bears that live near rivers can catch salmon, and they tend to grow much larger than other species of bear because of this special, yummy treat!
|Polar bears will find a seal's breathing hole in the ice and wait patiently for a seal to poke its head out for a breath.
Sometimes the only part of a seal that the polar bear will eat is the fat
which helps them to fatten up for hibernation.
A panda bear's diet mainly consists of bamboo. They can eat about 13.5 kg (30 lbs.) a day! That’s a lot! They may eat meat, if given the chance. Unfortunately for the giant panda, bamboo forests are being destroyed by humans who clear the forests to make room for homes, farms and shopping malls. The pandas in the area being developed will often die of starvation.
As bears get ready for hibernation, they need to bulk up, and will eat double the amount of food that they normally need. If a female bear isn’t fat enough, she will not be able to give birth to any cubs.
Baby bears rely on their mother’s milk for their first year of life and even longer for some species.