Bear Facts

Bear Facts
Ursus Americanus North American Black Bear, Ursus- Latin word meaning "bear"

The North American black bear was found over most of North America. Similar to the European cave bear and evolving from the same line, it probably descended from Ursus abstrusus, as did the Asiatic Black bear, which is the closest genetic relative to the North American Black Bear. Location North America (native only) Black Bears can be found in 42 states. They are mostly forest dewellers in temperate climates ranging from Alaska to Florida. Population 750,000 total (US-286,600 to 328,000 Canada-342,500 to 395,500) Texas has a population of 50 North American Black Bears, and is an endangered species within the state of Texas. Nationally, bears are not endangered and have a strong, viable population. The North American Black Bear is the most numerous and widespread species of bear in North America, due to its intelligence and adaptively. Colors Black, Cinnamon, Red, Chocolate, Brown, Blond, Yellow, Grey, Tan, Bluish-Grey (Glacier Bear of Alaska and the Yukon), White (Kermode Bear of British Columbia). All Black Bears, regardless the color, have a brown snout. 70% of American Black Bears are black in color, and most bears that are black in coloration are found in the Eastern United States. Fur Soft, dense underfur (insulation); long, coarse, thick diameter guard hair. Black bears molt once a year, depending on the photoperiod (hours of light in a day, usually in July). Size 4-6 feet tall when standing Weight Males weigh 250 on average, 125-600 (range) 880 (heaviest). Male bears are 33% larger than female bears. Joy and Lady should weigh 250-300 pounds when they are full grown, which will be at about age 5. Growth Six weeks - 2 lbs.
Eight weeks - 5 lbs.
Six months - 40-60 lbs.
Three years - Sexually mature
Five years - Full grown Names
  • Cub: young bear (born weighing 13 oz. average, 8 inches long, blind, naked and unable to hear, smell, really only able to find sow's nipple, born during hibernation in January or early February weaned from mother after 16-18 months)
  • Boar, He-Bear: adult male bear
  • Sow, She-Bear: adult female bear (reach sexual maturity between 3-5 years, gestation period being 235 days, averaging 2 cubs per litter, with most cubs being born in January or February)
Eating Habits Although bears are classified in the carnivore family, they exhibit characteristics that are predominately ominivoristic. Food 85% vegetable matter, eat seeds, insects, berries, nuts, and some meat. Teeth Bears can develop cavities, and are one of the few wild animals that are susceptible to tooth decay, due to their sugary diet. A bear's age can be determined by the study of one of its teeth (similar to counting the rings on a tree). Bears have 42 teeth. Body Temperature 98-99 Fahrenheit, during hibernation it can drop to 89. Heart Rate 98 beats per minute while awake and walking, 45 at night while asleep. Locomotion Black bears can run to 25-30 m.p.h. Claws Non-retractable claws are mainly used to climb and rip apart objects in the search of food. Black Bears are the only species of Bears in North America that climb trees at all ages (this is primarily a defense mechanism). Eyes All bears are nearsighted, but do exhibit color vision, and can see moving objects at long distances. Their vision is comparable to human vision. Bears stand up on their hind legs, and approach things to see them better. Senses Bears use their sense of smell like we use our sense of vision, next being their hearing, and vision in third. Swimming Black bears are excellent swimmers, and swim for pleasure and as a means of thermoregulation (bears do not sweat, and therefore must release heat by panting or swimming). Climbing Black bears are outstanding climbers. They climb regularly and easily to feed, escape enemies, or to hibernate in some areas. Climbing ability declines with age. Climbing is also the principal means of defense. Hibernation Black bears in northern climates hibernate. This is because hibernation is an indirect result of temperature. While hibernation is actually a question of food supply, the abundance of food is often connected with the weather.

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