Black bear PHOTOS

 
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Black Bear Pictures Showing The Smallest of the North American Bears

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Black bears, known as American black bears, Ursus americanus, are the smallest of the three bear species native to North America, the others being the grizzly or brown bear, Ursus arctos horribilis, and the polar bear, Ursus maritimus, both of which also inhabit Asia and Europe. The black bear is exclusively North American. An adult male black bear can reach 600 pounds and stand 3 foot high at the shoulder and five feet in length. Females are considerably smaller weighing up to 400 pounds. Although called black, they can range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown. Black bears with whitish fur are known as Kermode (ker-mode-ee) bears, sometimes called spirit bears, and this unique color is only found in coastal British Columbia, Canada. 

Adult black bears have small eyes, rounded ears, a long snout, a large body, and a short tail. It has an excellent sense of smell. Black bears can walk on their hind legs, but their normal walk is on all fours. They will stand to scent or look at prey better. Black bears have a shuffling walk, flat-footed, with the hind legs longer than the front and they walk by moving both legs on one side together. Each paw has five long claws they use for tearing and digging, and, in spite of their size, they are expert tree climbers. They have been known to run up to 30 miles an hour, and are powerful swimmers.

Black bears eat plants, fruit, nuts, insects, honey, small mammals, and salmon. There are estimated to be around 600,000 black bears in North America, from Canada to Mexico. The Mexican population is listed as endangered. In the United States, apart from threatened populations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida, they are not considered endangered. Canada classes them as game animals. They can live to be 20 years old, but typically die after 10 years or so. Threats include habitat loss, logging, poaching, and development in bear habitat. They shrink from human contact, prefer to run away rather than fight, and are not vicious, though they can be dangerous if cornered.

Black bears are very adaptable in their variety of of habitat, prefer forested and meadow environments, and are restricted now to forest areas that are less densly occupied by humans. Bears usually forage alone, but tolerate one another and will forage in groups. Mothers and cubs stay together to forage. Black bears hibernate over the winter in hollowed out dens. They do not eat or drink during hibernation, but they are fairly alert, and may leave the den from time to time. Females give birth and usually remain denned to nurse the cubs throughout the winter.

Female black bears reach maturity at about 4 years old, and will breed every two years. Mating happens in the summer months, but the embryos do not begin to develop until the mother dens in late fall. Gestation can be seven to eight months, but the actual development from when the mother dens is only about two months. In food scarce times, if the mother has not gained enough fat, the embryos do not develop. Black bear cubs are born in January or February, blind, helpless, and weighing only about 12 ounces. Typially two or three cubs will be born, though up to five has been observed. By the time they leave the den in spring they will weigh five to eight pounds. The cubs are weaned by six months old but stay with the mother for a further year learning how to forage, where to den, and how to seek shelter.

 

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Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, walking in a grassy meadow

Picture #: 044766

Image of black bear, Ursus americanus, cub eating flower, near Tower Intersection, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States of America

Picture #: 030880

Stock photo of black bear, Ursus americanus, young bear foraging along the streambed for sockeye salmon returning to spawn near Mendenhal Glacier just outside of Juneau, Alaska, USA. Pacific Ocean. This young bear is probably only recently weaned from its mother

Picture #: 045170

Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, sow in tree, Anan Creek, Tongass National Forest, southeast Alaska

Picture #: 021652

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Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, in Anan Creek, Tongass National Forest, southeast Alaska

Picture #: 021658

Image of black bear, Ursus americanus, resting on an old growth log in the rainforest, Olympic National Park, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Picture #: 022189

Stock photo of black bear, Ursus americanus, cub. Cubs are typically born in January or February, weighing less than one pound at birth. Cubs are weaned between July and September and remain with their mother until the next winter

Picture #: 044767

Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, portrait. This bear still has its thick, full winter coat, which will be shed soon with the approach of summer

Picture #: 044559

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Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, cub in a tree. Mother bears will often send their cubs up into the safety of a tree if larger bears, who might seek to injure the cubs, are nearby

Picture #: 044564

Image of black bear, Ursus americanus, reddish color, Glacier National Park, Montana

Picture #: 022269

Stock photo of black bear, Ursus americanus, portrait. Two ticks are visible below the bear's eye, engorged with blood. This bear still has its thick, full winter coat, which will be shed soon with the approach of summer

Picture #: 044566

Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, curious cub, near Mendenhall Glacier outside Juneau, Southeast Alaska

Picture #: 056416

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Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, male cub

Picture #: 058543

Image of black bear, Ursus americanus, adult male

Picture #: 058544

Stock photo of black bear, Ursus americanus, cub in tree, Anan Creek, Tongass National Forest, southeast Alaska

Picture #: 021664

Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, walking in a grassy meadow

Picture #: 044765

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Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, adult male, Sierra Nevada foothills, Mariposa, California

Picture #: 017911

Image of black bear, Ursus americanus, walking in a grassy meadow

Picture #: 044562

Stock photo of black bear, Ursus americanus, young bear foraging near Mendenhall Glacier Park just outside of Juneau, on the Alaska mainland in Southeast Alaska, USA. Pacific Ocean. The Alaskan black bear has its own sub-species name: Ursus americanus emmonsii

Picture #: 116703

Picture of a black bear, Ursus americanus, sow in tree, Anan Creek, Tongass National Forest, southeast Alaska

Picture #: 021651

 

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