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What is an American Black Bear?

Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

The American black bear is an omnivorous mammal that lives in most areas of North America, from northern Mexico all the way up into Canada. These bears aren’t as large as other American bear species, and they are noticeably different because of their darker coloring. They are also more numerous than any other American bear species, and they are known for their great ability to adapt to different environments.

In terms of exact size, the American black bear can vary quite a bit. Experts suggest that females can sometimes be less than half the size of bigger males, which occasionally reach 600 lbs. (about 270 kg). Black bears are considered especially good at climbing trees, partly because of their smaller size, and they use this ability to escape from perceived dangers.

A male American black bear might weigh 600 pounds.
A male American black bear might weigh 600 pounds.

Even though they are quite large, black bears still have to worry about a few different predators. The main concerns are human beings and other larger bears, like grizzlies for example, that they often share habitats with. Black bears may seem frightening, but they can sometimes have a relatively timid temperament and are often quick to seek safety in a tree when they feel threatened.

The American black bear will usually eat just about anything it can digest. Experts suggest that its primary diet tends to be based around vegetation, but if the bears get a good chance, they will kill deer, rabbits and other animals. The bears are known to be great opportunists, and they are quick to take advantage of whatever situation they may encounter. Many experts believe this is one reason why they are more numerous than some other bear species.

These animals tend to mate during the summer and have their babies in the winter while they're hibernating. The typical litter is about three cubs, but more are possible. Some experts say that female bears can be dangerous when they have cubs, but they usually simply threaten rather than attack.

Even so, black bears actually attack more people than any other American bear species. Most of these attacks are relatively mild, but there are exceptions where people are severely mauled or killed. Many researchers suggest that volume of attacks is primarily because of the immense size of the black bear population rather than any especially aggressive tendencies in the species. The American black bear can be much more dangerous if it’s starving, and this is especially true for bears that may be over-socialized with humans.

In order to keep bears from becoming too accustomed to people, most American parks have set up strict rules about feeding the animals. When people feed black bears, the animals are very quick to change their behavior and take advantage of the easy food source. Over time, the bears often start seeing people as a general source of food, which can lead to unfortunate incidents.

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    • A male American black bear might weigh 600 pounds.
      By: nialat
      A male American black bear might weigh 600 pounds.