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American Black Bears In All Their Glory

Updated on May 1, 2012

Get all the facts about American Black Bears here

Here you'll get facts, photos, videos of the American Black Bear in all their glory. There are also informational links for organizations who study them, photograph them or fight to save them.

As you can see by the cub in this photo, Black bears come in brown, cinnamon, and they even have a subspecies, known as the Kermode bear aka Spirit bear that is found in British Columbia, Canada, where 1 out of every 10 are cream/white in color.

So, scroll down the page and look at all the great stuff on Black Bears. And come back often as I'll be adding more "stuff". They don't call me Bearmeister for nothing!

My Blog has been HACKED and is down temporarily so some photos are not loading on this site.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Ursidae

Genus: Ursus

Species: U. americanus

Binomial name

Ursus americanus

Pallas, 1780

From Wikipedia

Conservation Status - U.S.

"Listed as a threatened subspecies in Louisiana, eastern Texas and southern Mississippi under the federal Endangered Species Act. In 4 others they are state-listed as rare, threatened or endangered (Lousiana, Florida and within the historic range of black bears in southern Mississippi and eastern Texas). The Florida black bear subspecies is listed as threatened by the state of Florida."

Defenders of Wildlife

Conservation Status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

From Wikipedia

The American black bear which is found only in North America is fairly small. In fact it is the smallest of the 3 bear species found in North America standing only 2 to 3 feet at the shoulders and 4 to 7 feet long (nose to tip of the tail). They usually weigh between 150 and 300 pounds, however, some males have been found at 500 to 600 lbs. Females are smaller.

Their fur is usually uniform in color but they sport a brown muzzle and sometimes have light markings on their chests.

In the East, the bears are usually black in color while in the west, the bear populations often have brown, cinnamon, and blond coloration in addition to black.

The black bears that have cream/white fur are known as Kermode or Spirit bear or Ghost Bears, a subspecies. These bears are found only in coastal British Columbia, Canada.

They usually life between 20 and 25 years in the wild.

What is a Black Bear's Range?

The American black bear is found throughout America including Canada, the United States and Mexico.

In Canada, they inhabit the forested areas where they have historically lived. The only exception is where the land is heavily farmed.

In the United States their habitats have dwindled because of human populations have moved into their habitat. They are now restricted to the less populated forested areas.

Black bears used to inhabit the northern mountains of Mexico. There are now only a few scattered populations of bear.

How do Black Bears Breed?

The size of a female black bear is the determining factor on when she will have her first litter. Some can become pregnant as young as 2-1/2 and others as old as 10 years.

The bears mate in late May or June. The egg does not immediately implant in the uterus, instead floating around until November at which time, they implant that is IF the bear has gained enough weight to sustain the pregnancy.

In January, 2 to 5 cubs are born. And, yes, the mother is still in their den hibernating but she actively takes care of here cubs. She cleans them by licking them and aligns them with her teats. They remain in the den for until April, growing all the while.

Black bears are omnivorous. They eat salmon and will occasionally kill moose calves and young deer. They also eat plants, fruits, nuts and insects. Like all bears, they love honey.

Black Bears and Hibernation

Black bears will pick out a shallow depression in the earth, under logs or in hollowed-out trees or dig a den to hibernate during the winter.

In the past, the type of hibernation black bears do was not considered a true hibernation because their body temperature does not drop appreciably.

Black bears and brown bears are now both considered hibernators because mammalian hibernation now takes other factor into consideration such as they go up to 7-1/2 months without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating.

Upon waking, they forage for new shoots and any animals they find that were killed due to the cold. This helps them build their strength quickly.

Black Bear vs. Brown Bears (Grizzlies)

Black bears are smaller in stature than brown bears. Although some may have similiar coloring to Brown Bears, Black Bears are a smaller bear.

Also, black bears have no shoulder hump and their ears are both larger and stand straighter than ears on brown bears.

Confrontations between Brown bears and black bears are rare because Brown bears prefer open spaces, whereas brown bears prefer forested or shrubby areas. Brown bears are also nocturnal and Black bears are diurnal so they don't run into each other often.

When there is a confrontation, Brown bears have an advantage of size over the black bear.

National Wildlife Federation

Protecting Bears and The Environment

When I discovered the problems facing bears, I looked for an organization that I could work with to help save them. I found the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Their mission is to protect wildlife for our children's future, connect people with nature and to confront global warming.

I am proud to be a member of NWF and to support them in their efforts to save Bears and other animals from extinction.

The NWF is also helping to lead a nationwide grassroots effort to protect the Arctic Refuge. For more information on this click NWF-Arctic Refuge. Or, for membership information, click NWF Membership.

Black bear with 5 cubs!

It is virtually unheard of for a black bear to have 5 cubs at one time. Tom Sears, a professional photographer, found one and took pictures of her family over a period of time.

For his story about his encounter and more photos, click Black bear.

Sub-Species -- Kermode Bear aka Spirit Bear aka Ghost Bear

Below is a photo of a Kermode Bear. This bear is a cream/white and usually found in British Columbia, Canada.

Because this sub-species is so unique and endangered, I have created a separate lens that explores them with more information, photos, videos and organizations helping to save them.

To go there, click Spirit Bear

Kermode Bear aka Spirit Bear aka Ghost Bear

Kermode Bear aka Spirit Bear aka Ghost Bear
Kermode Bear aka Spirit Bear aka Ghost Bear

Black Bears Can Climb

Black Bear Doing High Wire Trick

Are you worried about squirrels getting to your bird feeder? Well, now you know you have to worry about bear too. Check out this cute photo...

For more photos of this bear's high-wire act, click Black Bear High Wire Act-Photos

Interesting Books On Black Bears

Here are some great books on Black Bears. Let people know which you think are the best by voting for your favorite book. It's okay to vote for more than 1. And, you can add a another one from Amazon or take a copy of this list. If you add one, don't forget to vote for it!

Living With Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country
Living With Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country
Colorado author Linda Masterson dispels myths, replaces fear with respect, and lays the foundation for improving human-black bear relations with an inside look at the fascinating world of these highly intelligent, adaptable and resourceful animals found in 41 U.S. states and every province in Canada. With over 900,000 black bears roaming North America today, people from Florida to British Columbia are encountering bears more often, and as a result, human-bear conflicts are on the rise. This guid...
Among the Bears: Raising Orphaned Cubs in the Wild
Among the Bears: Raising Orphaned Cubs in the Wild
In the spring of 1993, Benjamin Kilham, a naturalist who lives in the woodlands of New Hampshire, began raising a pair of orphaned wild black bears. The experience changed his life. While spending thousands of hours with the cubs, Kilham discovered unknown facets of bear behavior that have radically revised our understanding of animal behavior. Now widely recognized for his contributions to wildlife science, Kilham reveals that bears are altruistic and cooperate with unrelated, even unknown indi...
Bears: Polar Bears, Black Bears and Grizzly Bears (Kids Can Press Wildlife Series)
Bears: Polar Bears, Black Bears and Grizzly Bears (Kids Can Press Wildlife Series)
The eating habits of bears is one of fourteen topics in this clearly written look at three North American bears — grizzly bears, polar bears and black bears. You’ll find out how and where bears live, how they give birth and raise their cubs, what they eat and much more.Did you know?• Bears eat so much in the fall that they don’t need to eat during the winter.• All baby bears have blue eyes.• Polar bears are related to dogs.
Black Bear (Our Wild World)
Black Bear (Our Wild World)
Every title contains: -Where the animal lives, what it eats, when it sleeps, how it raises its young, and much more. -Over 30 vivid, full color photos and illustrations. -Sidebar 'Fun Facts,' an index and a list of useful Internet Sites.
Beauty Within the Beast: Kinship With Bears in the Alaska Wilderness
Beauty Within the Beast: Kinship With Bears in the Alaska Wilderness
An innocent act of kindness turns a bear into a dangerous marauder and when she is killed she leaves her three cubs without a mother. Stephen Stringham and his new bride decided to raise these three orphan cubs in the Alaska wilderness. Together, they taught Ontak, Chrislee, and Jonjoanak about which plants they could eat and how to fish and hunt. Dr. Stringham's extensive scientific background made him an ideal teacher of the foraging skills and the social skills they would need to live in a be...
Black Bears: A Natural History
Black Bears: A Natural History
In 1990 author, naturalist and photographer Dave Taylor set out to research and photograph black bears in North America - a quest that took him from the high arctic to the swamps of Florida, and from the East Coast to the shores of the Pacific. Of the three species native to this part of the world - the grizzly or brown bear, the polar bear, and the black bear - Taylor devotes this beautifully embellished volume exclusively to the black bear, the most numerous of North America's three bear speci...
In the Company of Wild Bears: A Celebration of Backcountry Grizzlies and Black Bears
In the Company of Wild Bears: A Celebration of Backcountry Grizzlies and Black Bears
Real-life human-bear encounters with black bears, grizzlies, and Alaskan brown bears.
Big Black Bear
Big Black Bear
When Big Black Bear shows up at the Brown Brick House on Sycamore Street, he's not very nice or polite. He barges in, makes a mess, and even threatens to eat Little Girl. Will she be able to teach him some manners?

Black Bear and Cubs Tagged - Educational and Funny Video

New YouTube vids

Glacier Bear

Glacier Bear
Glacier Bear

Member of Save Our Bears (SOB)

Save Our Bears is a list of lenses devoted to help change the plight all of the 8 bear species through awareness and fund raising.

The lenses show the wonderful nature of bears and many will, at the same time, shine a spotlight on the dangers bears face including: trophy hunters, gall bladder and bile farming, pollution, bear baiting, global warming, and habitat destruction.

You'll also find fun lenses on great polar bear movies, books, teddy bears, even cartoon and toy bears.

Click Save Our Bears (SOB) to see lenses about bears.

Black Bear Cub up a tree

Black Bear Cub up a tree
Black Bear Cub up a tree

How you can support National Wildlife Federation's

Alaska Natural Resource Center

NWF and their Alaska Natural Resource Center are leading a nationwide grassroots effort to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Their campaigns address the issue of climate change and its effect on polar bears from many angles, including clean energy, sustainable tourism, youth conservation leadership, reversing nature deficit, and protecting wildlife from global warming through adaptive management of habitat.

For more information on NWF click NWF-Arctic Refuge. Or, for membership information, click NWF Membership.

For the Alaska Natural Resource Center's office, click Alaska Resource Center.

To make a lens now, click

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American Black Bears in all their Glory


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Copyright 2008-2012 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.

Please use this guestbook to let me know if something is missing or could be done better. I can't bear to disappoint you!

Bear hugs, Frankie

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    • Scotties-Rock profile image


      9 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      They are so cute! I have never seen one but many mornings at our lakehouse, we find evidence of their visit, (droppings they leave for us right in our backyard. )

    • puppyprints profile image


      9 years ago

      bears are so cute

    • Rankography profile image


      9 years ago

      What an amazingly beautiful creature. Nice lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Love this lens!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This is an amazing resource on American Black Bears, excellent job. The baby bears are so cute. Blessed.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh, those baby bears are just the cutest ever! No wonder you love bears so much.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      10 years ago

      I love the bear sitting at the picnic table! Too cute! Love this lens and where your heart lies with animals! Many blessings!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      10 years ago from Colorado

      I really enjoyed learning about the black bears here. I've got black bears that live nearby. They occasionally come through my property. The very first weekend that I lived here I was within 16 feet of a sow and her cub! Pretty amazing.

    • imolaK profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a nice and very informative lens. Blessed!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      A great resource on Black Bears - we have em wild here in Colorado.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Enjoyable reading, thanks

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens, I love nature and animals.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      10 years ago from So Cal

      Great info on bears. Thanks

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Black bear cub I like it. Also coala. But Big black bear I fear.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      @Franksterk: Ok. Later on. :)

    • Franksterk profile imageAUTHOR

      Frankie Kangas 

      10 years ago from California

      @iloveanimalslogo: Hi, I'm in the middle of combining 2 houses into 1 and with the holidays too, things are quite crazy. Please contact me after the beginning of the year. I would love to have your "I Love Bears" items on this lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      @Franksterk: Oops..I forgot to turn the option on. I'm now can be contacted through Squidoo. Thanks Frankie.

    • Franksterk profile imageAUTHOR

      Frankie Kangas 

      10 years ago from California

      @iloveanimalslogo: I love your Zazzle stuff but I want to be able to contact you via Squidoo before I put any products on a lens. Please either allow contact on your Lensmaster page. Bear hugs, Frankie

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi! Would you like to add our Bear collections from Zazzle to your lense?

      Check them out here,

      Thank you :D

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wonderful creatures!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 

      10 years ago from Lancaster PA

      These bears are gorgeous!! I love them!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very educational lens on bears. Bears are intelligent and can grasp a lot owing to their curious nature.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      11 years ago

      Quite delightful lens. Lensrolling provided you don't mind? Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks to share great lens! The American black bear is North America's smallest and most common species of bear.

      home tutoring

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Growing up at Kabetogama Lake in northern MN, I became accustomed to living around black bears. They really are very nice creatures, that need the same respect as they give us.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens. I love black bears. I enjoy them when they come through my yard in Southwest Florida. Thanks for all the extra information on them.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens! Very informative. Blessed by an Angel.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      11 years ago from Concord VA

      We have black bears in our woods in Appomattox County, VA. A couple years ago we spotted a mama with 2 cubs. Great lens!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      11 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Lovely, informative lens - I've got a real soft spot for bears. Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Nice post also gave you a star :-)

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Wonderful lens!

      Thanks for sharing


    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Wow. Great photographs. It looks like our neck of the woods here in Northern Michigan.

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L B 

      12 years ago from Covington, LA

      Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens links to the appropriate plexos and vote for them.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      13 years ago from Austin, Texas

      A hearty SquidAngel Blessing for my favorite bruins.


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