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Bears are omnivorous, eating berries, roots, fish, shagbacks, rodents, hares, snowshoe boars. The are at the top of the food chain, with a good sprint, but not much endurance for any chase. They provide large, strong hides with coarse fur. The quality of their meat is dependent on season and diet - very rarely are they hunted specifically for eating, although they provide a great deal of meat and are also an excellent source for rendered fat.
Black bears are the smallest of the bears, and most common. They can weigh up to 450 lbs in the autumn when they have been fattening for hibernation, though smaller bears of 250-300 lbs are more common. They are usually black in color, with a very rare white variation known as a ghost bear. They sleep through most of the the winter, and spend most of their summer hunting and browsing. They are generally unconcerned with humans, considering them neither prey or threat, but will attack if startled or provoked.
Brown bears (known as brown or grizzly bears on earth) range from golden brown to very dark brown, and are considerably rarer than the black bear. They weigh up to 1200 lbs, and hibernate similarly to the black bear. Likewise, it is very rare that they attack humans. They will, however, consider young snow-unicorns prey, and this can lead to conflicts.
The largest of the northern bears, the polar bears will be found on the north coast of the bay - they will eat the smaller sea monsters, and what seals they can get, as well as coastal herd animals, foxes, river fish, rodents and weasels. They are not common, and are in decline; their greatest risks are the medium-sized sea monsters. They have come to hunt further inland than our polar bears, for this reason. Their territory overlaps the snow-unicorn riders only during the winter, when both parties are roaming the ice pack for sea-going prey. In spring, they retreat north with the ice.
Whalebears are a variant of the polar bear found in isolated areas of the northwest coast. In a shard with very little land and almost none of the terrestrial prey they were used to, these evolved and became more aquatic, although they still beach to give birth. They can grow up to 20 ft. Whalebears are covered in heavy white fur and a thick layer of blubber. The huge wedge-shaped head bears a mouth full of sharp teeth. The front legs are broad and paddle-like, ending in long sharp claws. The rear legs have dwindled somewhat, but still retain sharp claws. The short tail serves as a rudder. On land, the whalebear is less graceful than its predecessor, and moves on all four limbs with the humping gait of a seal. They live in small pods of 6-12 individuals, usually a family group. When a female is ready to give birth, the whole pod will beach for about a day, to provide protection until the baby can swim. They are far from helpless on land, but more graceful in the water. They eat smaller aquatic mammals, fish, sea birds, and smaller sea monsters. They will happily eat humans, and will attack small or occasionally medium-sized boats. The shard of the whalebear has only recently opened, and these are still exceedingly rare in northern territory.
All Related Articles:
Animals of the North: An overview of the animals found in (or near) the territory of the snow-unicorn riders.
Sea Monsters: Whalebears: A large, flippered sea monster that hunts on land, ice and in the sea.