AMERICAN BLACK BEAR – Ursus americanus


American black bear facts: Although most American black bears are black, some are brown, cinnamon, blue-gray, or even white. Siblings (brothers and sisters) may have different colors. Some bears have a white chest marking. They stand about 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall. Males weigh about 250 to 350 pounds (110 to 160 kilograms), almost twice as much as females (150 to 175 pounds, or 70 to 80 kilograms).

Geographic range: American black bears are found in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

American black bear habitat: American black bears thrive in forested regions, wetlands, and meadows. They range in the frozen tundra (treeless plain) of Alaska and Labrador, Canada. They are also found around campsites and other places where human food and garbage are available.

What does american black bear eat: American black bears are mostly herbivores, preferring berries, fruits, grasses, and roots. With strong claws, they dig up insects in the ground and pry open honeycombs. In the absence of plant food, they eat fish, young birds, and small mammals. They also feed on carrion (dead and decaying flesh) and campsite leftovers.

Behavior and reproduction: American black bears are active at dawn and dusk, sleeping or resting most of the day and night. They are, however, adaptable, adjusting their schedule to mate or to avoid humans or predators (animals that hunt them for food). Skillful tree climbers, they scale tree trunks with their curved claws to escape predators, such as timber wolves and grizzly bears. Except for mothers and cubs, these bears are loners, although they may feed close together at an abundant food source. From late spring to early summer, adults breed for a few days, then go their separate ways. On average, two cubs are born in mid-winter. They remain with their mothers for up to two years.

American black bears and people: People hunt American black bears for meat and trophies. Poachers, or illegal hunters, kill the animals for body parts believed to have healing powers. The bears very rarely attack humans, although they may become aggressive in places where human food is found. Some bears damage cornfields and beehives.

Conservation status: American black bears are not in danger of extinction (dying out).