The Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) is Japan's most common bear, usually growing up to around 100-120kg as an adult.
Known in Japanese as tsukinowaguma ("Crescent Moon Bear"), the Japanese bear is a sub-species of the Asian Black bear found in mainland Asia in the Indian and Nepal Himalayas, north eastern China, Thailand, Burma, Korea, Taiwan and the Russian Far East.
The Japanese Asian Black bear is found in Honshu and Shikoku but is now extinct in Kyushu. In Hokkaido the Yezo Brown Bear is the only bear found on the island.
Japanese Asian Black bears are omnivorous and feed on a variety of insects, fruits, nuts, grasses, honey, mushrooms and even garbage. In June and July the bears will often peel the bark from trees. They are good climbers of both rocks and trees and hibernate in dens in the winter. Japanese Asian Black bears build cushion like nests in trees during their active months of the year.
Japanese Asian Black bears can be dangerous if surprised and in 2009 four Japanese tourists were injured in an attack at a bus stop near Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. Walkers and hikers should carry bear bells and make noise as they travel through forests.
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