- Genus/Species: Ursus americanus
- Conservation status: Not endangered
- Location: Alaska and Canada, much of the United States, and Northern Mexico
The North American Bear
Black bears inhabit both coniferous and deciduous forests as well as the mountainous regions of North America. They can live in a variety of habitats, including swamps. Black bears are curious and solitary animals who roam large territories. They make their dens in caves, burrows, brush piles, or other sheltered spots—sometimes even in tree holes high above the ground. During winter, black bears spend the season dormant in their dens. They can live up to 7 months off the body fat that they have built up by eating ravenously all summer and fall. Black bears use different sounds to express a wide variety of emotions. For example, when they are relaxed they combine a lot of grunting sounds and when they are scared, they make a loud blowing noise.
Adult black bears are generally 4 - 6.5 feet in length from the tip of the nose to the rear. They generally weigh between 200 and 400 lbs - or as much as two normal adults together. American black bears are omnivores - they will eat both plants and meat. They eat a variety of grasses, berries, twigs, nuts and fruits. They will also eat grubs and insects - and they love honey! American black bears will hunt for fish, small mammals and easily develop a taste for human foods and garbage
Humans pose the most serious threat to black bears due to habitat loss, vehicle collisions and poaching.
Did You Know?
- American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears.
- Black bears are excellent tree climbers, swimmers and can run as fast as 30 mph.
- Not all black bears are black – their fur can range in color from a cinnamon color to very dark brown or black… and very rarely, white.
- Black bears are nearsighted, however they can distinguished colors and have highly developed senses of hearing and smell.