Dark and light green leaves

Andean Bear Exhibit

Andean Bear – Tremarctos Ornatus

Status: Vulnerable
andean bear crawling on a log

Habitat: Andean bears live in the mountainous regions of western Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and western Bolivia. They are found in a variety of habitats, including scrub desert and grassland, but are most often associated with the cloud forests high in the Andes Mountains.

Adaptations: The Andean bear is also known as the spectacled bear, because of light coloration around the eyes that resembles spectacles, or glasses. They also have cream-colored markings on the muzzle and chest. Markings vary considerably — no two bears have the same pattern. One of the smaller bears, Andean bears measure five to eight feet long, and they can weigh up to 300 pounds. They are excellent climbers and may build tree nests, where they will sleep during the day. They come down to forage at night.

Diet: Andean bears are one of the most herbivorous (plant-eating) of bears, with less than 10% of their diet consisting of meat. The majority of their foods are fruit, seeds, leaves, palm sprouts, bromeliads and bamboo hearts.

Fun Fact: The Andean bear is the only bear native to the continent of South America. Female Andean bears are much smaller than males, usually half the size. If a female bear meets a male bear and feels threatened, she will take advantage of her lighter build and run up into the trees, where the male will be too big and clumsy to follow.