A pair of young grizzly bears

It "bears" repeating

Sloth bear

Teddy, gummi, grizzly, and Chicago: what do these all have in common? They're all bears! Well, only one of these—grizzly—is a bear you might see at the Zoo, but all of these examples show that people really like bears. We name all sorts of things after bears. But when you're talking about real, live types of bears, there are considered to be eight species of bears: black bears, brown bears (also called grizzly bears), polar bears, Asiatic black bears, sloth bears, Andean bears, sun bears and, of course, the giant panda bear.

Grizzly bear walking on a log

Bear basics

Bears live in different habitats in various places around the world, but they do have some things in common. They are generally big animals that walk heel-toe like we do. They carry their large body on short legs and have just a stub of a tail, small round ears, and forward-facing eyes.

Mother panda Bai Yun eats bamboo as cub watches

Eat like a bear

Bears eat meat, but they all eat plants, too. For example, the panda is almost entirely a plant eater, chomping away on lots of bamboo. The polar bear, on the other hand, or paw, is almost entirely a carnivore!

On your next visit to the Zoo, see how many types of bears you can find. And maybe you'll even see what they are eating! style