Ed Golson Outdoor Education

Black Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus americanus

Description: As you might have guessed from the name, black bears are mostly all black in color. Most of them have a pale spot on the front of their face and some also have white spots on the front of their chest. Black bears can vary quite a bit in size. They can be between 4 to 6.5 feet long and can weigh anywhere between 80 to 800 pounds. Males are normally significantly larger than females. Bears can live up to 30 years in the wild, but few live past 10 years.
Contrary to popular belief, black bears do not hibernate during the winter. Their bodies simply slow down and they sleep a lot more than usual, but this is not true hibernation. They still climb out of their dens from time to time to feed.

Habitat: Black bears can be found from Alaska, to Canada and into most of the U.S. and parts of Mexico. Bears live in areas of forests that are thick with shrubs and short trees.

Food: Black bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. The bear's diet consists of grasses, seeds, and berries. The meat bears eat is from insects. Black bears actually eat very few larger animals. Contrary to what many people believe, black bears rarely attack humans. Fewer than 36 people were killed by black bears between 1900 and 2000. Black bears are actually quite shy and normally try to avoid humans whenever possible.

Back to Previous Page