American Black Bear - facts

  • The American black bear (Ursus americanus) averages about 300 pounds (135 kilograms) in weight.
  • The American black bear is found from Alaska and northern Canada to central Mexico.
  • In spite of its name, the black bear appears in a variety of colors. Brown cubs are often born in the same litter with black ones.
  • Although they all live in North America, American black bears are not closely related to brown bears and polar bears.
  • Like bears everywhere, the American black bear fills up on many different kinds of food during the summer and fall. By the time cold weather comes, the bear is very fat and ready for a long winter's nap. It curls up in a den, which it digs in the ground, and goes to sleep. Eating nothing and living off its fat, the American black bear usually stays in this snug retreat until spring. On mild days it may awake and leave its den for short walks.
  • Scientists used to disagree over whether the bear's winter sleep is true hibernation. A bear's body temperature does not drop close to freezing like most hibernators. However, during its inactive state the bear's heart rate decreases to only eight to ten beats a minute. Therefore, most scientists now consider American black bears to be hibernators.
  • Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location.
  • Many species of bears, such as this American black bear, give birth to their young while hibernating in a den during the cold winter months.
  • Cubs are born in mid-winter while the mo­ther is in her den. Usually she has two cubs.
  • Cubs of the American black bear usually stay with the mother until they are over a year old.
  • American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws.
american black bear

American black bears

black bear