American Black Bear Definition | Characteristics & Facts

American Black Bear

American Black

American Black Bear Definition

Bears are known for their distinctive black fur, although they can have variations in color, including brown, cinnamon, and even white (known as “spirit” or “Kermode” bears).

American Black Bear General Characteristics & Facts


American black bears are medium-sized bears, with adult males typically weighing between 200 to 600 pounds (90 to 270 kilograms) and females being smaller, weighing between 100 to 400 pounds (45 to 180 kilograms).


They have a dense, thick coat of fur that is mostly black, but it can vary to brown, cinnamon, or even white (known as “Kermode” or “spirit” bears).


Black bears have five toes on each paw with strong claws that make them excellent climbers.


They are generally solitary animals, except for mothers with cubs, and are most active during the early morning and evening hours.

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Physical Characteristics of American Black Bear

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear species with several physical characteristics:

  1. Size: Adult male black bears typically weigh between 130 to 660 pounds (60 to 300 kilograms), while females are smaller, weighing between 90 to 330 pounds (40 to 150 kilograms). Standing on all fours, they are about 2.5 to 3 feet (76 to 91 centimeters) tall at the shoulders.
  2. Coat Color: Despite their name, black bears can have a range of coat colors, including black, brown, cinnamon, and even blonde or white. The black coloration is the most common, particularly in the eastern parts of their range.
  3. Body Shape: Black bears have a relatively slender build compared to other bear species. They have a long, narrow head, and their ears are proportionally larger than those of grizzly bears.
  4. Claws: Black bears have sharp and curved claws, which are excellent for climbing trees and digging.
  5. Snout: Their snout is usually straight and not as pronounced as that of grizzly bears.
  6. Tail: They have a short tail, about 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 centimeters) in length.
  7. Behavior: Black bears are excellent climbers and swimmers. They are also known for their agility and can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour) for short distances.
  8. Vision and Hearing: Their senses of vision and hearing are well-developed, which aids in their survival in the wild.
  9. Hibernation: American black bears are known for hibernating during the winter months in colder regions, reducing their metabolic rate and living off stored body fat.

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Scientific Classification of American Black Bear

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Ursidae

Genus: Ursus

Species: Ursus americanus

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American Black Bear FAQs

What does American Black Bear?

  1. Berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  2. Fruits (apples, pears, and cherries)
  3. Nuts (acorns, hazelnuts, and walnuts)
  4. Insects (ants, bees, and termites)
  5. Fish (salmon and trout)
  6. Small mammals (rodents and rabbits)
  7. Bird eggs
  8. Grasses and plants
  9. Carrion (dead animals)
  10. Honey (when available, they will raid beehives)
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