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American Black Bear

Scientific Name:

Urus americanis




Forests, mountainous areas, scrublands, deserts, wetlands, and areas near rivers and lakes


Most of Canada and various regions in the United States and far northern Mexico


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Despite their name, black bears can be many different colors. Their coats range in color from black and brown to blond and even white-blue in northern latitudes. The smallest of the three North American bear species (the other two being brown and polar bears), black bears weigh between 200 and 600 pounds. They differ in appearance to brown bears in that black bears have long ears, convex face profiles, smaller claws, and pale-colored noses.

Fast Facts:

  • The behavior of black bears depends on the availability of food. When food is abundant, bears will come together in groups, whereas they tend to be solitary and defensive of their territories when food is scarce.

  • Despite some misconceptions, black bears mostly eat fruit, nuts, insects, and plants. In preparation for hibernation, black bears will try to add up to half their body weight by eating over 20,000 calories per day

  • Female black bears will hibernate after giving birth to cubs. The cubs do not hibernate, instead feeding and growing from 0.5 to 11 pounds over winter.

  • In the Paiute language, American black bears are called Padoo'a.



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Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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