Spectacled bear cubs are born blind and are completely dependent on their mother for their first month but will remain with her for up to a year.
Spectacled bears can be persecuted and shot by local farmers who blame them for killing cattle and destroying maize crops.
Adult spectacled bears have no predators, but cubs may be preyed on by mountain lions, jaguars, and occasionally by adult male spectacled bears.
The average lifespan of a wild spectacled bear is 20 years, but captive bears can live up to 25 years, the longest living 36 years, 8 months.
Spectacled bears rival the polar bear for the most sexually dimorphic modern bear as males are up to 50% larger than females and can twice their weight.
There is no known paternal involvement in the rearing of spectacled bear cubs; in fact, males may eat any cubs they come across.
Because spectacled bears are shy, peaceful, and elusive and avoid contact with humans by climbing the tallest of trees, no one knows exactly how many remain in the wild.
The spectacled bear is believed to be mostly diurnal and does not hibernate, but there is disagreement over its activity pattern.
A spectacled bear’s litter can range from 1-4 cubs and is positively correlated with the female’s weight and the abundance and variety of food sources.
Relative to body size, spectacled bears have the largest zygomaticomandibularis muscle of any bear species, an adaptation for their primarily herbivorous diet.
Habitat loss plays a role in the decline of spectacled bears as 30% of their habitat has been lost since 1990 and 3-6% more is lost each year.
Depending on the season, spectacled bears travel between habitats such as dense cloud forests, paramos, scrub deserts, and high-altitude grasslands, but prefer humid montane forests because of the abundance of food.
Spectacled bears are polygynous and breed at various times throughout the year, potentially capable of delayed implantation with a variation in gestation time from 160-255 days.
Spectacled bears possess great religious and cultural value to the native people whom share their range.
Because of their excellent climbing skills, spectacled bears spend a fair amount of time in trees and create “nests” in the understory for foraging and sleeping.
Spectacled bears are hunted illegally for medicinal or ritual purposes as their meat, skin, fat, claws, and gallbladder are prized locally and internationally.
No two spectacled bears have the same light markings on the face, allowing individuals to be easily identified from each other.
Spectacled bears are stocky, medium-sized bears with small, round ears; a thick, short neck; a stout muzzle; and medium-long black fur, but reddish-brown individuals have been observed.
There are seasonal- and sex-based differences in the home ranges of spectacled bears as their ranges are larger in the wet season and males keep bigger ranges than females.
Spectacled bears are mainly herbivorous folivores and frugivores, but are technically omnivores with 5% of their diet composed of meat.
The spectacled bear is listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and has a high risk of going extinct in the next 30 years.
Spectacled bears are the second most herbivorous bear species, after giant pandas, and have a strong preference for bromeliads and fruits.
Like all bears, spectacled bears have a plantigrade stance with longer front limbs than hind limbs that give them excellent climbing abilities.
Spectacled bears are adaptable and can inhabit a wide variety of altitudes from as low as 250m to as high as the mountain snow line at over 5,000m.
Spectacled bears are 1 of 4 extant bear species that are habitually arboreal, alongside the American black bear, Asian black bear, and the sun bear.
Spectacled bears are non-territorial, solitary animals, except when a female is with cubs, but can gather in areas where food is abundant.
Spectacled bears are named for the varied, light face markings that encircle the eyes and extend down the chest.
Spectacled bears are the largest land carnivore and second largest terrestrial mammal in South America, after the lowland tapir.
The spectacled bear, or Andean short-faced bear, is the last remaining short-faced bear and has a relatively short snout compared to other bear species.
The spectacled bear’s scientific name, Tremarctos orantus translates to “hole-bear decorated,” referring to an unusual hole on the bear’s humerus and the ornate decorations on its face.
Olfaction is the dominant form of communication for spectacled bears.
The spectacled bear’s role in the ecosystem remains largely unstudied, but it plays a role in seed dispersal because of its largely herbivorous diet.