Wolf Run Studio - Wild Animals
Bill Harrah
Wolf Run Studio
P.O. Box 444
Clifton VA 20124

(703) 250-6711
(703) 764-9204





BEARS (Click on an image to see the actual notecard size)
#ABB-500 Notecards Only
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-504

The Alaskan brown bear, or Kodiak bear, is the world’s largest land-dwelling carnivore. It lives on the Alaskan coast and adjacent islands. Their vast home range encompasses mountain forests, open meadows and large river valleys. Physical characteristics include a concave face with small rounded ears, high-humped muscular shoulders, and forepaws with long curved claws.

Bears are loners and usually wander by themselves in search of food. Females with cubs generally feed together. Herbaceous plants, roots, corms, and berries comprise most of their diet. They also eat insects, rodents, fish, and hoofed animals. In July and August, when salmon swim up coastal rivers, large groups of bears can be seen fishing together. Bears must eat enough high-energy food to store the huge amounts of fat needed to sustain them through hibernation.

Responding to a mysterious inner clock, bears begin looking for suitable places to dig their dens in early fall. Dens are dug in hillsides under tree roots or large rocks and are lined with pine and fir boughs. Bears then become increasingly lethargic and enter their dens sometime in November.

Because there is very little food to eat in winter, bears enter a state of dormancy and inactivity called hibernation. During hibernation, bears do not eat or drink and do not pass urea or solid fecal waste. More than 90 percent of their energy requirements are derived from stored fats. Remarkably, implantation of fertilized eggs is delayed until the female is ready to den, even though the mating season was 5 or 6 months earlier. Cubs are born during hibernation.

Bears begin emerging from winter dens as early as March. Lone sows, subadults and sows with 1- to 3-year-old cubs begin to emerge in April. Sows with newborn cubs emerge last.

Mature females breed only once every three to five years. Cubs remain with their mother for at least two-and-a-half years before they are forced to become independent. They watch her constantly, learning everything from what to eat and where to find it, to how to locate a den for the winter. Mother and cubs den together during winter hibernation.

Please Note: The animal above is described in less detail on the back of the notecards, which were printed in 1995. The new description will be used when cards are reprinted.

Text © 1999 Dianne Harrah, Drawing © 1995 Bill Harrah.
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#PND-501 Notecards
#LE-PND-501 Limited Edition Print

Although giant pandas are among the most recognizable animals in the world, they rank among the rarest. Only about 1,000 giant pandas remain in the mountain forests of central China, and about 140 live in zoos and breeding centers.

Newborn cubs weigh three to five ounces. They do not open their eyes until they are six to eight weeks old and remain immobile until after twelve weeks. After subsisting on their mother’s milk for the first year, giant pandas begin thriving on a diet consisting almost exclusively of bamboo. They grow to weights of up to 250 pounds.

Text © 2001 Terry White, Drawing © 2001 Bill Harrah.
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    Giant Panda
    Limited Edition Print
    Issue Date: 11/2001
    Edition Size: 500
    Image: 6.5” x 8.25”
    Paper: 8.5” x 11”
    Mat: 11” x 14”
    View matted print

Panda Cub Tai Shan with Mother Mei Xiang
#PND-502 Notecards Only
#LE-PND-502 Limited Edition Print

Giant pandas rank among both the rarest and most-recognized animals in the world. Only about 1,600 of them survive in the temperate-zone bamboo forests of central China. Another 140 live in breeding facilities and zoos, including about 20 in zoos outside China. So the birth of a cub to giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC on July 9, 2005 created considerable excitement.

Indeed, 202,000 people voted in the naming contest. In accordance with Chinese tradition, the cub received his name upon turning 100 days old. Although that name, Tai Shan, means “peaceful mountain,” the blind, pink and nearly hairless baby was about the size of a stick of butter at birth. Eventually, he will earn his name by growing to as much as 250 pounds.

Although his mother Mei Xiang seemed mystified by her cub at first, her maternal instincts kicked in within minutes and the two became inseparable for the next month. Like pandas in the wild, father Tian Tian was not involved in the care of the cub.

Text © 2006 Terry White, Drawing © 2006 Bill Harrah.
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    Tai Shan & Mom
    Limited Edition Print
    Issue Date: 07/2006
    Edition Size: 500
    Image: 6.5” x 8.25”
    Paper: 8.5” x 11”
    Mat: 11” x 14”
    View matted print

#PND-500 Notecards Only
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-511

Wild giant pandas are found only in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu. They live in misty, cloud-covered forests, high in the mountains.

Their ears, shoulders, legs and tear-drop shaped patches around the eyes are black. The rest of their fur is creamy white. The thick coat consists of a coarse outer layer and a very dense, wooly-like underfur. An oily protective coating on each hair helps keep the panda dry in its cold, damp habitat.

Because they have a plentiful food supply in all seasons, giant pandas are one of four bear species that do not need to hibernate. They feed primarily on the stems, twigs, leaves and fresh young shoots of various types of bamboo. Giant pandas will also eat meat when it is available. Since they are poor hunters, any animals they eat have most likely been killed by another animal.

Giant pandas are well-equipped for eating tough, fibrous bamboo. They have powerful cheek muscles and broad heavily-ridged teeth. Their flexible forepaws include an elongated wristbone that functions like an opposable thumb, enabling them to grasp bamboo stalks firmly. Tough linings in their esophagus and stomach protect pandas from bamboo splinter injuries. Their intestinal systems, however, are quite inefficient - requiring them to eat tremendous amounts of bamboo each day to get sufficient nutrition.

The mating season is the only time of year when the normally solitary pandas come together. Each female panda has her own home range. Within this range she has a favorite core area that will provide enough food for herself and her cubs. Home ranges of males may overlap ranges of several females.

Pregnant females give birth in a den, usually a hollow tree or a cave. Cubs are born at the end of the summer, when bamboo is most abundant. The first month of a cub’s life is spent almost entirely in the arms of its mother, who is extremely attentive. Cubs open their eyes after about 6 weeks. By 5 months they can move about without stumbling and falling. For about 1-1/2 years mom teaches her cub everything it needs to know to be sufficiently self-reliant. After leaving its mother, a cub will establish its own territory.

With just over 1,000 left in the wild, giant pandas are on the verge of extinction. They have become the international symbol of all endangered species.

Please Note: The animal above is described in less detail on the back of the notecards, which were printed in 1993. The new description will be used when cards are reprinted.

Text © 1999 Dianne Harrah, Drawing © 1993 Bill Harrah.
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#POB-500 Notecards Only

Weighing in at as much as 1,500 pounds and measuring as long as 11 feet, the polar bear is the biggest meat-eating hunter treading the earth today. Only about 25,000 of these ivory-white bears descendants of brown bears remain in the world, mostly along the northern coasts of Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

A layer of fat thicker than three inches combines with dense, oily fur to protect them from the Arctic chill on both land and sea. Polar bears even have fur on their dinner-plate-size paw bottoms to prevent heat loss. These fur-covered soles additionally help them avoid slipping on ice and muffle their approach as they sneak up on their prey.

Surprisingly fast and agile, polar bears can run up to 35 miles per hour and swim 100 yards in 33 seconds. They also benefit from a sense of smell so keen that they can detect food as far as ten miles away. Polar bears prefer dining on seals, but their diet also includes sea birds, lemmings, fish, berries, and grasses.

When the weather grows too cold even for polar bears, they live in dens that they typically dig in deep hillside snow banks. Pregnant mother bears give birth in late November or early December. Usually twins, newborn polar bears measure only about 10 inches long and weigh about 1.5 pounds. Two years later, they strike out on their own, often roaming the North for another 30 years or more.

Text © 1998 Terry White, Drawing © 1998 Bill Harrah.
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#SBR-500 Notecards Only
Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-511

Most sloth bears are found in the forested areas and grasslands of India and Sri Lanka. They have also been witnessed in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. Originally thought to be a member of the sloth family in the late 18th century, the species’ true affiliation with bears was not recognized until the early 19th century. Its scientific name was changed to Melursus ursinus and the common name was changed from “bear sloth” to “sloth bear.” More recently the scientific name was changed again, this time to Ursus ursinus.

Sloth bears have a shaggy black coat that may have brown and grey hairs mixed in. Cinnamon and reddish bears have also been reported. Behind their heads, sloth bears have a thick mane-like ruff of fur that covers their neck and part of their shoulders. On their chest is a distinctive white or cream-colored chest patch in the shape of a wide U, or sometimes a Y or V. Rounded ears are covered with shaggy fur, giving them a floppy appearance. The long muzzle is covered with very short white or cream-colored fur.

Particularly well adapted to eating ants and termites, sloth bears use their large curved claws to dig into termite mounds or tear logs apart in search of ants and other insects. They have a long thin tongue, nostrils that can be closed voluntarily, a hard palate, and large protruding lower lips. They also lack front incisors. These mouth adaptations enable them to form their long tongue and lips into a tube so they can suck up termites and ants from exposed nests. Sloth bears also eat other insects, berries, eggs, honeycomb, grass, grubs and almost any kind of meat. Because food is plentiful all year, sloth bears are one of four bear species that do not need to hibernate.

Like other bear species, sloth bears live a solitary existence, except when raising young or mating. Females build earthen dens and typically give birth to only one or two cubs. After four or five weeks, the mother might take her young on their first trip outside the den. Young sloth bear cubs ride on the back of their mother, clinging onto her thick shaggy fur. Cubs remain with their mother two to three years before becoming independent.

Please Note: The animal above is described in less detail on the back of the notecards, which were printed in 1993. The new description will be used when cards are reprinted.

Text © 1999 Dianne Harrah, Drawing © 1993 Bill Harrah.


Copyright Notice
Drawings Copyright © 1992-2013 Bill Harrah, Wolf Run Studio (SM), All Rights Reserved. Wolf Run Studio is a service mark of Bill Harrah and has been in continuous use since 1992. All of the images on this website are in tangible form and are fully copyrighted. Each has an invisible digital identification which is traceable through the Digimarc Corporation. Viewers of the Wolf Run Studio website are allowed to browse and print out images for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not distribute copies of images or image files to anyone else for any reason. Images may not be reproduced or used in any form or any manner, or displayed on any website without the express written consent of Bill Harrah.

Text Copyright © 1992-2013 Terry White or Dianne Harrah. Text on this website is used with permission from the authors. Viewers of the Wolf Run Studio website are allowed to browse and print out text for personal, non-commercial use only. Text may not be reproduced or used in any form or any manner without the express written consent of the authors.

Information Accuracy
The information for the written description of each animal has been carefully researched by the authors and is believed to be accurate. New scientific observations, however, could make some information out-of-date. If you are a professional zoologist, and have new information that you are willing to share, please contact Dianne Harrah .