The American black bear is one of three North American bear species. They are the smallest of these native bears, but they are still extremely powerful and dangerous if provoked.
The sharp, non-retractable claws on the paws of the black bear gives this animal profound tree climbing abilities. Heights are not a deterrent.
Many people in the US are familiar with the Eastern black bear and these creatures frequently appear at campsites and parks in the mountains of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
These bears are found in many areas of the North American continent besides the Appalachians and Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are black bears habitats on the both the west and east coasts and some bears inhabit the coastal area of British Columbia in Canada.
The fur on the American black bear is usually a glossy black over the entire body with the exception of their brown muzzle. There are a few bears that will also display a few lighter color marks on their chests or stomachs.
The eyes of the bear are generally brown, but some appear to be almost black in color.
One of the most pronounced differences between the bears of each region is the coloring of their fur. The bears that inhabit the Eastern states are largely the ones that have the black fur.
Western black bears have many other variations in their fur coloring. There are still some that have the more common black fur but others have fur that is brown, blond or cinnamon colored.
In Canada you can see an American black bear with distinctively different fur. The Kemode bears, or glacier bears, are a black bear species that undergoes a fur phase that gives them a grayish-white coloring.
There are about 600000 black bears inhabiting North America today. A little more than half are located in the US, the others in Canada.
The black bears native to the states of Louisiana and Florida are considered endangered species by the government.
A male black bear averages 150-300 pounds but some have weighed up to 600 pounds. The female bears are shorter and lighter in weight.
They eat assorted plants, berries, small fruits, nuts, insects and honey.
Spawning salmon is a favorite catch for those living in the northwest part of the country. Black bears are also known to kill moose calves and younger deer.
Black bears are solitary during much of their lives. American black bear hibernation occurs during the winter season if the air is cool and winter food supplies are low.
They are voracious forages during the late summer and early autumn months. If an American black bear lives in warmer climates they may not even hibernate.
The summer months are the mating season for black bears. Two cubs are a usual litter for black bears but they can birth 1-6 cubs.
A female American black bear can be roused to a fury if she senses any threat to her young cubs from any intruder, animal or human.