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Black Bear

Ursus americanus

The American black bear is the smallest, most common bear found in North America. Black bears have small eyes, a long snout, a short tail and rounded ears. Their sharp claws allow them to climb trees with very little difficulty. They can run quickly up to 30 mph. and swim well. Despite the name, black bears can also show brown, blond and cinnamon coloration in some populations.  There is also the very rare white of coastal British Columbia.

black bear picture

Height up to 37 inches at the shoulder
Length 4 – 7 feet
Weight Females weigh anywhere from 90 to 400 pounds; Males can weigh up to 600 plus pounds.

Life span

Can live 20-33 years in the wild.


A Black bear’s diet consists of a mix of plants, nuts, insects, fruit, honey, fish and meat.


Only found in North America, the Black Bear population is estimated at 750,000.


Black bears live mostly in forests from Alaska and Canada to south Florida and northern Mexico.


Most American black black bears rest most of the day and night, usually being active at dawn and dusk. Black bears will enter their dens in the winter for hibernation. In preparation, they will build up a thick layer of fat in the fall which will keep them warm and nourished throughout their deep sleep state. Only occasionally will bears emerge from their dens during the winter months.

Black Bears are generally a solitary animal except for mating season, and the time the females will spend with their young (usually the summer and the cubs first winter). Black Bears can give birth to up to six cubs. Blind at birth, the small cubs only weigh about 7 ounces.

Mating Season During the Summer
Gestation 63-70 days
Litter Size 1-6 cubs; most commonly are 2 cubs