American black bear

America’s smallest and most widely distributed bear, endemic to North America

Jim Martin

Despite their name, not all black bears are black—their fur can range in color from cinnamon color to very dark brown and sometimes even pure white. But usually, most populations have a mixture of brown to black colors.

It is not a species of particular concern, and thanks to conservational efforts, their numbers have been reported to increase in Florida and Louisiana over the past several years. But in areas with a high human population, their increased numbers can lead to conflicts as they are attracted to human foods and wastes and can even attack pets and smaller livestock animals.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Canada
>380,000
Official estimate
LC
2016
Mexico
5,000-6,000
Official estimate
EN
2016
United States
339,000-465,000
Official estimate
LC
2016

Did you know?

  • They are excellent climbers and are able to scale trees to escape predators or access food sources.
  • Black bears are the most common bear species in North America and can be found in 41 of the 50 United States.
  • They have an incredible sense of smell, which is seven times stronger than a bloodhound’s.
  • They have an excellent memory and can remember food sources and their locations for up to several years.
  • They are excellent swimmers and can swim long distances across lakes and rivers.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No