American black bear

If you watched an American black bear lumbering through the forest, you might not notice anything unusual about how it moves. This large bear carries its massive weight with a slow, steady stride on all four paws. Walking on four feet isn't unusual for a mammal. But most living mammal species walk on their toes. Bears, like humans, walk on flat feet.

Scientific Name: Ursus americanus
Habitat: forests of North America
Diet: plants (fruit, nuts, tree bark) and animals (insects, fish, other mammals)
Size: about 3 feet (0.9 meter) tall at the shoulders, up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long from nose to tail
Conservation Status: least concern
Cool Fact: Black bears usually walk about 5 miles (8 km) an hour, but they can run more than 30 miles (48 km) an hour for short distances.

Image credits: main image, courtesy of R.E.Poplin.