Bear, or Ursus, in natural history, a genus of curious quadrupeds, consisting of eight species, the most remarkable of which are:
1. The artos, or black bear, animal of a phlegmatic temperament, inhabiting the forests of the North, and also capable of living in a warmer climate, especially the brown bear, which is of the saute species, though much larger. The white, or silver bear, is the smallest, and more rarely met with than any other. They differ from all other animals, by their strong ropy hair, a thick head, with a blunt snout, short tail, and waddling gait, though they can run occasionally with great speed. Fond of solitude, bears herd only during the rutting season : after a gestation of six months, the females produce one, two, or three young ones, scarcely eight inches in length, which they suckle six months. They grow till twenty, and live to the age of thirty years. The principal nourishment of the brown bear is animal food, particularly mackarel, ants, and honey. The black bear, on the contrary, subsists entirely on vegetables, and is peculiarly fond of honey, so that it is frequently taken by the Pole.'. and Russians, who expose a bowl of that substance mixed with brandy, by which he becomes so intoxicated, as to fall an easy prey to the captor. Numbers of these animals are annually killed in America, both for their savoury flesh, which resembles pork, and their excellent skin, which forms a very considerable article of com-merce.—The flesh of bears' paws are considered as a luxury, even on the Imperial table.
2. The maritimus, or polar bear, whose skin is sometimes thirteen feet long: it is confined to the coldest regions of the globe, and has been found by navigators beyond the SO0 of north latitude, lush, seals, and the carcasses of whales, are the principal food of this animal, which also greedily devours human bodies, and is particularly fond of human blood. Polar bears are bold enough to attack armed men, and even to board small vessels. - Their flesh is white, and similar to mutton in flavour; their fat is melted for train oil, and that of the paws is used in medicine, for anointing rheumatic and paralytic limbs, having formerly been esteemed as a sovereign remedy for these diseases ; _but the liver is extremely unwholesome and unfit for food. This ferocious creature, however, is easily pacified, when in pursuit of prey; for a glove, or handker-chief, thrown in its way, affords it sufficient diversion, and gives time for the escape of the person pursued.
3. The luscus, or wolverene of Hudson's Bay and Canada, a native of the most rigorous climates, and found in the northern parts of Europe and Asia, where it is called the glutton ; because it feeds so voraciously as to be in danger of bursting, till it has eased itself by squeezing out the contents of its bowels between two trees. Its skin is valuable, as the whole body is covered with very long and thick hair, which varies in colour, according to the season.
4. The lotor, or racoon, inhabits the warm and temperate climates of America, the mountains of Jamaica, and is also found in the South Sea islands, etc. In sportiveness, it resembles the monkey, and its skin serves as an excellent substitute for beaver, in the manufacture of hats.
5. The moles, or common badger, a clumsy, fetid animal, to be met with in most parts of Europe and Asia, as far as China, where its flesh is much esteemed, though it is rather a scarce quadruped in all countries. It is generally very fat, and subsists on roots, fruit, grass, insects, and frogs. Having already given a short account of this animal, under the head of Badger, we shall only add that, when overtaken, it defends itself in a vigorous manner, and its bite is dangerous. It burrows under ground, and makes several apartments, to which there is only one entrance, where it may be easily taken during night, in the manner formerly described.