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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 16, 2021

Spirit Bear: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read further to discover some awesome spirit bear facts.

Do you love reading about different and unique animals? Well, The spirit bear is one of the most unique bears that exist in the world today. Native to the coastal region of British Columbia, the spirit bear is a type of Kermode bear that has a genetic mutation. Kermode bears are a subspecies black bears, and most of them have a black coat. However, due to a recessive gene, a small number of these Kermode bears are born with white hair and are hence referred to as spirit bears. Spirit bears are known by the scientific name Ursus americanus kermodei and they belong to the Ursidae family. These bears are characterized by their beautiful white fur, love for salmon, and rarity. In fact, these bears are so rare, only a few 100 of them are alive today. Hence, hunting these bears is illegal and punishable by law. These bears are considered to be very special and have spiritual ties with the Native American community. They also help to promote the growth and flourishing of their own ecosystem, which makes them extremely important. These bears are solitary bears and live on their own in the Great Bear Forest. However, they are extremely rare and have barely been seen by humans in their natural habitat. Due to their white coat, they often give off a ghostly appearance, and hence, termed as spirit bears.

Read further to dwell into the world of the rare spirit bear, and do check out our black bear facts and sun bear facts pages.

Spirit Bear Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spirit bear?

The spirit bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) or the Kermode bear is a species of American black bear with a white coat found off the coast of British Columbia.

What class of animal does a spirit bear belong to?

The Spirit Bear or the Kermode Bear is a mammal.

How many spirit bears are there in the world?

The exact population of these bears is not known. However, it is believed that there are only a few 100 of these white bears that are found off the coast of British Columbia.

Where does a spirit bear live?

Spirit bears or Kermode bears are found off the coast of British Columbia in Princess Royal and Prince Rupert Islands, parts of Canada, and Southeast Alaska.

What is a spirit bear's habitat?

Spirit bears or Kermode bears are found in dense forests and rainforests of coastal British Columbia. Salmon is a staple part of the black bears' diet. As a result, British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest is the perfect habitat for this bear, as it is home to plenty of coastal streams that are abundant with Salmon.

Who do spirit bears live with?

The spirit bear or Kermode bear is usually a very solitary species and is often found alone in the forest. However, mothers with their babies are found together until the babies are old enough.

How long does a spirit bear live?

The average lifespan of a Kermode bear (spirit bear) is 25 years.

How do they reproduce?

The spirit bear or Kermode bear reproduces viviparously, which means that they give birth to live offspring. Spirit bears or Kermode bears breed in the summer and give birth in the winter. Each pregnancy lasts for 220 days and mating takes place every four years. Babies are born in a den or a cave. A baby spirit bear is known as a cub and is often referred to as a white cub.

What is their conservation status?

Spirit Bears have been classified as endangered by the IUCN. Other endangered bears include the polar bear, the giant panda, and the brown bear.

Spirit Bear Fun Facts

What do spirit bears look like?

Spirit bears or Kermode bears are technically American black bears but with a cream white fur coat. Spirit bears have brown noses and eyes, grow to a length of 6 ft (1.82 m), a height of 3 ft (0.91 m), and a weight of 496 lb (224.98 kg). Spirit bears also have perky upward pointing ears, sharp claws, and teeth.

Spirit Bears are classified by their cream white skin and love for salmon.

How cute are they?

Although bears are generally dangerous creatures, spirit bears are considered to be very cute. They have a beautiful white fur coat which gives them a very appealing appearance and they have cute, perky ears and a cute face.

How do they communicate?

Spirit bears communicate using a combination of auditory and olfactory signals. They often let other bears know their location by spreading their scent across the forest. They may also use growls and roars to let other bears or predators find their location.

How big is a spirit bear?

Spirit bears are average sized bears that weigh between 150-496 lb (68.03-224.98 kg) and grow up to 6 ft (1.82 m) in length. This makes them almost five times smaller than the Kodiak bear by height.

How fast can a spirit bear move?

Spirit bears or Kermode bears are fast runners and can reach speeds up to 34.17 mph (55 kph).

How much does a spirit bear weigh?

Male spirit bears can weigh anywhere between 250-496 lb (113.39-224.98 kg) and female spirit bears can weigh anywhere between 150-298 lb (68.03-135.17 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for a male or female spirit bear. They are simply referred to as male or female.

What would you call a baby spirit bear?

A baby of this species of black bear is referred to as a cub or a white cub.

What do they eat?

This variant of the black bear is an omnivore, which means that they eat both plants and animals, including berries, nuts, salmon, insects, deers, fawns, and seeds.

Are they poisonous?

Although this species of black bear is dangerous if provoked, they are not poisonous and do not contain any venom.

Would they make a good pet?

Black bears are wild, aggressive animals that are known for killing human beings if threatened, hungry, or provoked. Hence, these bears would not make good pets. They also require a large forest habitat and live salmon in their diet.

Did you know...

Kermode bears are black bears that are found in British Columbia and parts of the United States of America. Although most of the Kermode bear population have black fur, a recessive gene causes a small percentage of this bear population to be born with white fur. These black bears with white fur or a white coat are called spirit bears.

These black bears have always been considered sacred animals by the Native Americans. According to them, these black bears were born white to remind the people of the Ice Age. They also believe that these white bears are spirit guides that can lead them to other worldly places.

Spirit bears help their ecosystem by helping the trees grow. When a spirit bear hunts salmon, they do not eat the entire fish right away. In fact, they carry some of the fish back into the forest with them for later. However, many times, these black bears may only eat the eggs of the salmon, leaving the rest of the fish behind in the woods. These leftovers fertilize the soil, which causes new trees to go, thereby creating an evergreen forest ecosystem.

These bears are considered to be sacred, and due to their small population, they are protected by the government. As a result, bear hunting is illegal in British Columbia. If anyone is caught bear hunting in these forests, they could get jail time.

What is so special about the spirit bear?

Spirit bears are very rare bears that are native to the Great Bear rainforest. They often get mistaken for polar bears because of their white coat but are actually a type of black bear called the Kermode bear. These black bears are mostly black in color, but due to a recessive gene, a small percentage of this bear population is born with a white coat or white hair. They are extremely rare, with only a few 100 bears that exist today.

Spirit bears have large appetites, which means that they need a large amount of food every day. They often catch Salmon that come up to the coastal river of the great bear rainforest to lay their eggs. Because of their white hair, the salmon cannot see these bears in the daytime. This is a proven advantage as it allows these black bears to eat dozens of Salmon during the day, which is a lot more than their black fur counterparts.

Why are they called spirit bears?

Due to a recessive gene, 20% of the Kermode bear population in North America are born with white fur. These bears are often termed to look ghostly in the dense rainforest due to their white fur. As a result, they have named spirit bears (or the White Kermode) as a tribute to their ghostly white fur.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sloth bear facts and red panda facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Spirit bear coloring pages.

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