Despite the name, black bears can actually come in shades of black, blue-black, cinnamon, brown, and in very rare instances, white. They are much smaller than their cousin the grizzly, usually never growing more than 6 feet in length. They can weigh up to 600 pounds.
Habitat & Diet
Black bears are often found in forests but can also make their home in more mountainous or swampy locations. They are omnivorous and eat most anything that smells appealing. They eat grasses, roots, berries and insects. They will also eat fish and some mammals, even if they are already dead or decaying. They eat ravenously through the summer and fall to prepare for their long winter of going “dormant”.
They are strictly solitary creatures that roam a large territory. Although they are solitary they do not defend their turf from other encroaching bears. Outside of mating, the only time bears spend with one another is when a mother is raising her cubs, which go off on their own after about 2 years. They can live up to 20 years in the wild and even longer in captivity.
Meet our Residents
- Black bears are not true hibernators. They go “dormant” during the winter months. They will not eat, drink, urinate or defecate through the period of rest, though they may wake if disturbed.
- Unlike their big cousin the grizzly bear, black bears are exceptionally good at climbing trees and will sometimes rest on strong limbs.
Status In The Wild
Black bears are spread across northern North America and populations reach down all the way to northern Mexico. They have strong sustained numbers, but face danger when their territory overlaps with human communities who see them as a threat.