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This subject category includes books on the mammalian families Ursidae and Ailuridae.
Members of the Ursidae family are better known as the bears. These large, emblematic carnivores are widespread and well-known, though the family contains only eight species. The polar bear is adapted to live in the Arctic and subsists almost exclusively on a diet of meat, whereas the giant panda is almost exclusively herbivorous, feeding itself on copious quantities of bamboo. The remaining six species (brown bear, Asian black bear, American black bear, sun bear, sloth bear, and spectacled bear – the grizzly bear is a subspecies of the brown bear) are all omnivores and have a mixed diet. Bears live largely solitary lives and most species hibernate, overwintering in dens or caves.
Also included is the family Ailuridae, which contains only one living species, the red panda, and currently seven extinct genera. Originally assigned to the racoon family by Cuvier on morphological grounds, its classification remains contested. It was considered part of the bear family for a long time, but more recent molecular-systematic DNA studies suggest it falls within the broad superfamily of Musteloidea and should be considered an independent family. For ease of reference we have included it alongside the bears.