The Big Black Bear

Ursus americanus

The Black Bear

Fun Facts

  • Black bears historically occupied nearly all of the forested regions of North America, but in the U.S. they are now restricted to the forested areas less densely occupied by humans.
  • Despite their name, black bears are not always black — they can also be light brown, blond, or even grey-blue
  • They are solitary animals unless there is abundant food
  • They are excellent climbers and swimmer, doing so for pleasure and to feed
  • They have a very keen sense of smell and can often be seen standing on their hind legs, sniffing scents
  • Bear lips, unlike the lips of other animals, are not attached directly to the gums. This makes them very flexible and useful for stripping berries from bushes
  • Most black bears hibernate between October and March, depending on local weather conditions and availability of food
  • Black bears are highly dexterous, being capable of opening screw-top jars and manipulating door latches. They also have great physical strength
  • Black bears tend to shuffle along slowly when walking but are able to run at speeds of around 25 to 30 miles per hour

Quick facts

Common Name: American Black Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus americanus

Habitat: Primarily forested areas with thick ground vegetation and an abundance of fruits, nuts, and vegetation

Size: Boars weigh 150-300 pounds, are 2-3 feet high at the shoulders and 4-7 feet from nose to tail. Sows are somewhat smaller. At birth cubs weigh 14 ounces and measure 8 inches but quickly gain up to 6 pounds before they leave the den at 2-3 months

Diet:  They eat plants, fruits, nuts, insects, honey, salmon, small mammals and carrion

Reproduction: Mating season is between June-July, but the embryos do not begin to develop until the mother has stored enough fat to survive over winter . Sows usually produce their first  litter at the age of 4 years and will only  reproduce every second year (or more).  Gestation is about 7 months. Litter size is typically 2-4. Young stay with their mothers for 2 years