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Bears in Slovakia

Number

Large territories and a secretive life style make it hard to determine their exact number. Besides females with young, they lead a mostly solitary life. Sometimes they gather to feed at seasonally abundant food sources such as fruit trees or hunters' baits. Most experts agree that at present there are 700-900 bears in Slovakia.

Distribution

There are bears in most mountains of central and north Slovakia, including - but not only - Vysoke, Zapadne, Belianske and Nizke Tatry, Velka and Mala Fatra, Slovenske Rudohorie, Polana, Strazovske vrchy and Vychodne Karpaty.

Diet

The bear, although classified as a Carnivore, is not a good hunter. It has become an omnivore, getting 85-90% of its food from plants. In spring it eats grass and herbage as well as carcasses of winter-killed animals. Its diet is more varied from summer to autumn, including bilberries, raspberries and other fruit, beech mast, acorns and ant and wasp larvae. Some individuals occasionally visit beehives, crops or rubbish bins or kill livestock. More ...

Hibernation

Sleeping during the winter saves energy when food is scarce. Most bears are inactive from December to February or March, depending on food availability, weather, locality and individual. They need places free of disturbance for denning. More ...

Cubs

Bears mate in May-July. The female gives birth in winter, in her den. At birth cubs weigh less than 0.5 kg. Young bears stay with their mother for up to 2.5 years, but some orphaned at less than 1 year old have survived in the wild. Adult females have 1-3 cubs (rarely 4-5) every 2 to 3 years. Due to this comparatively slow rate of reproduction, bears are vulnerable to over-hunting.

Size

Adult males weigh 140-350 kg, measure 170-220 cm from nose to tail and are 95-130 cm tall at the shoulder. Females are smaller, usually 80-200 kg, 160-200 cm and 90-110 cm respectively. More ...