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American Black Bear
 American Black Bear Facts and Information

Black Bear
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service - Bender, Mike

Common Name: American Black Bear
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: Ursus americanus

The American Black Bear, as the name implies, are typically black in color, but depending on environmental conditions and food sources have also been known to be brown, cinnamon or occasionally blond. Usually much smaller than the brown bear, the American Black Bear can weigh 90 – 600 pounds (40 – 275 kg), and are 60 - 72 inches (150 – 180 cm) in length, and 35 – 50 inches (80 to 100 cm) at the shoulder. American Black Bears also have a muscle hump on their shoulders, but not as pronounced as the brown bear. An adult male bear is 25 to 35% larger than an adult female, which varies by geographic region and the surrounding habitat.
American Black Bear - Front Paw Print
Front Paw Print
American Black Bear - Rear Paw Print
Rear Paw Print

American Black Bear Distribution/Habitat

American Black Bear - Distribution

The American Black Bear is located only in North America, ranging from the forests in Florida and Mexico to the far reaches of the forests in northern Canada. The population of the American Black Bear is approximately 750,000 to 800,000 with the principal range being Canada, the northern United States, and along the western and eastern states. The American Black Bear species is in the low risk for conservation status, primarily due to the population and distribution of the bear throughout North America.

American Black Bear Diet

American Black Bear - Den
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Laubenstein, Karen

As with the brown bear, the American Black Bear shares the same type of diet, spending a majority of time eating various vegetation such as wild berries, nuts, tubers and plant roots. In some areas, like their larger bear cousin, the American Black Bear is provided with the necessary proteins from eating salmon in the coastal regions as well as eating a variety of insects and smaller mammals.

American Black Bear Reproduction

American Black Bear - Hunting
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Hillebrand, Steve

American Black Bears typically reach an age of breeding maturity at 3 to 4 years of age, depending on the nutritional intake from the surrounding environment. Male bears may take longer to reach a breeding age, as they need to become large enough to compete with other mature bears for breeding rights. The breeding season for American Black Bears vary from mid-June to mid-August depending on the climate. The number of cubs in a litter varies from one to four, but is typically two. When born, cubs weigh less than a pound and are without teeth, hair and sight. The cubs will remain with their mother from two to four years, during which time the bear learns important techniques such as hunting, fishing, and how to defend themselves from other bears and predators.

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