Black Bear Facts

The black bear is a medium-sized bear that’s native to North America. They live in the forests, swamps, and meadows of North America, mostly in Canada. They are also found in Alaska, northern Mexico, and along the Pacific Coast from Northern California to the Yukon Territory.

The black bear is mainly nocturnal and is most active at dusk and dawn. It is a very intelligent animal and one of the most efficient predators in the forest. They tend to live in family groups consisting of females with their young. Black bears are omnivores and are known to eat fruits, berries, insects, eggs, and even fish. They are highly territorial of their home range. They communicate through a variety of sounds, including loud bellowing calls (barks) and growling.

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Black Bear Facts for Kids

  • The black bear sleeps in caves during the winter. 
  • They can run up to 30 miles per hour.
  • Black bears are omnivores
  • Black bears like swimming, and they will swim to catch fish.
  • They are also good climbers and can climb trees quickly.
  • Black bears are active in the day, at night, and sometimes at dusk.

1. Ursus americanus

The black bear, Ursus americanus, is an endemic species that inhabit Canada, North America, and some geographic areas of Mexico. It has a long snout, rounded ears, round and small eyes. Their hind limbs are longer; they can even stand upright; they are plantigrade animals with five toes on each leg. Their claws measure about 2.5 centimeters and are much shorter than those of the grizzly bear (seven to 10 centimeters).

2. Size and Weight

They are large, strong, and robust mammals. This species is smaller than the brown bear. Weight will depend on sex, age, and season of the year. In autumn, they gain weight because their body stores fat, which they will use later in the cold winter.

The male is between 1.40 and 2 meters long and weighs from 60 to 275 kilograms approximately. An adult female weighs 40 kilograms to 180 kilograms and has an estimated length of between 1.20 and 1.6 meters.

3. Coat Color

Their coat is glossy, pure black, with a light spot on the face and sometimes on the chest, but other coloration variants are also known. The most common is a variety of brown shades; these types of bears are typical of Canada, west of Manitoba, and the United States west of the Mississippi River. Sometimes black and brown bears can be found in the same litter.

4. Protection

The Red List currently evaluates the species Ursus americanus as of “Least Concern,” the figure for its total population in the continent is between 500,000 and almost 800,000 specimens since the population has experienced growth in recent years. Threats include mortality in road accidents, poaching, destruction of its natural habitat, and low fecundity.

5. Evolution

There is evidence to suggest that the ancestors of the first American black bears lived 4.9 million years ago. There are theories that these animals were closely related to Asian black bears and diverged from them about 4 million years ago. It is also believed that diversity is because these animals choose to consume vegetation when they cannot reach meat sources. This type of evolution still accounts for much of their diet today.

6. Solitary Animal

Ursus americanus tend to be solitary and territorial animals. However, if there is an area where food is abundant, they may form groups. In these groups, the largest male dominates the group and marks the territory by scratching the bark of trees and rubbing his body. They can also be observed in groups during the breeding season.

7. Hibernation

As with other bears that sleep during the winter, the black bear accumulates fat as the winter approaches until it finally stops eating and takes refuge in a den in a protected area such as under a fallen tree, a hollow log, or in a cave. During hibernation, body temperature decreases from 38 to 34� C., respiration slows, and metabolic rate is depressed. Winter sleep is interrupted by excursions out of the burrow during periods of relatively warm weather. Hibernation begins in October and may last until May.

8. Heavy Winter Coats

The coat of the American black bear is short but still offers a lot of protection. You will not be able to see the second layer of coat they have, but it provides a barrier between the skin and the environment. They use it for thermal protection, camouflage, and also for sleeping, and it helps prevent him from getting wet.

9. Breeding Season

They are viviparous mammals; both males and females of the black bear are sexually adult between 3 and 4 years of age. The gestation period lasts about seven months, and the average number of cubs is one to two every two or three years, although depending on the area where they are found, they can conceive more offspring. Their breeding season is in summer.

10. Cubs

Cubs at birth weigh 225 to 230 grams and measure approximately 15 to 20 cm. Black bear cubs are born between January and February, are blind, and have no coat. They are usually weaned between 6 to 8 months of age and remain with their mother and hibernate with her. When spring arrives, they usually leave to avoid aggression from adult males during the breeding season.

11. Bears Diets

These bears feed mainly on vegetables, fruits, and honey, although they also eat fish and small mammals, making them omnivorous animals. In general terms, their diet is based on between 10% and 15% animal protein: rodents, carrion, fish, crayfish, and insects such as wasps, termites, bees, and ants. They have a preference for honey and enjoy raiding beehives to obtain carbohydrates for their diet.

12. Homebodies

They are accustomed to mark trees to locate themselves in the forest. They are homebodies: it is said that some specimens that had been removed from their habitat managed to return from a distance of more than 160 kilometers.

13. Senses

Its sense of vision is not very good, but it can distinguish colors. On the other hand, its sense of smell and hearing are very well developed. Its sense of smell is considered seven times better than that of a hound dog. These bears can travel for miles in search of prey they have detected.

14. Habitat

This species of bear can adhere to conditions in many environments. It is mainly located in forests, but you will find them living almost anywhere where there are trees, where they can find shade, food, and a place to hibernate. They have come to live in the mountains, along the plains, in some swampy areas, you will also find the presence of these bears.

15. Predators

The natural enemies of the American black bear are grizzly bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Where grizzlies numbers have declined, the number of American bears has increased. Smaller predators, such as coyotes, may prey on them, especially wounded and small bears. In the southern United States, they may be attacked by large Mississippi alligators.

They are a relatively gentle beast that is much more harmless than a grizzly bear. It avoids encountering people and, even when wounded, prefers to flee rather than attack. Despite its heavy and clumsy appearance, it is a mobile, strong, agile, and energetic animal that runs fast swims well, and climbs trees. The claws of this animal are mainly adapted for climbing.