The black bear (Ursus americanus) is all black except for the occasional brown markings on its chest and its muzzle. Approximately 600,000 black bears live in North America, which is the only continent they exist on. They feed on plants, fruits, nuts, insects, honey, salmon and small mammals. Black bears can be as long as 4 to 7 feet from their nose to the tip of their tail (when standing on all fours), and the largest ones can weigh anywhere from 500 to 600 pounds. Although this is large, the American black bear is actually the smallest of the three bear species found in North America. These bears mate during the summer, and females give birth to litters ranging from one to six cubs.
Black bears are very adaptable animals. While most are found in forests, they can also be found in fields and meadows. Even their hibernation patterns depend on their local weather conditions and availability of food during the winter months. Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, black bears have a difficult time traveling to areas where there is proper food and shelter for them. Many think that black bears are vicious; however, this is only a misconception. Because of this misunderstanding though, many of these bears get killed upon human interaction. As a result of all these misfortunes, the black bear is considered to be threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Fun Black Bear Facts
- Black bears have short, non-retractable claws, which allow them to have great tree-climbing abilities.
Defenders of Wildlife
Click here to go back to Animal Facts and Information.