The habits and manners of the Black Bear resemble those of the brown almost as closely as his physical characters. In a state of nature he seeks the recesses of the forest, and passes his solitary life in wild and uncultivated deserts, far from the society of man, and avoiding even that of the animal creation. His usual food consists of the young shoots of vegetables, of their roots, which he digs up with his strong and arcuated claws, and of their fruits, which he obtains by means of the facility with which the same organs enable him to climb the loftiest trees. He possesses indeed the faculty of climbing in a most extraordinary degree, and frequently exercises it in the pursuit of honey, of which he is passionately fond. When all these resources fail him, he will attack the smaller quadrupeds, and sometimes even animals of considerable size; familiarity with danger diminishing his natural timidity, and the use of flesh begetting a taste for its continued enjoyment. He is also said, like the Polar Bear, to have a peculiar fondness for fish, and is frequently met with on the borders of lakes and on the coast of the sea, to which he has resorted for the gratification of this appetite. Notwithstanding his apparent clumsiness, he swims with the greatest dexterity, the excessive quantity of fat with which he is loaded serving to buoy him up in the water; in this way he frequently crosses the broadest rivers, or even very considerable arms of the sea.