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American Black Bear Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Ursus americanus
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Throughout North America

  • Status


  • Habitat

    The most common bears in North America, black bears occupy forests, mountainous regions, swamplands and brush areas.

  • Niche

    Black bears are solitary, roaming huge territories that overlap with other bears.

  • Life History

    In winter, females birth two or three cubs and nurse them until spring. Cubs stay with aggressively protective mothers for a couple years before exploring the world on their own.

  • Special Adaptations

    • Powerful limbs and strong claws make black bears excellent tree climbers.
    • True omnivores, black bears gobble grasses, berries, insects, fish, mammals and carrion. They will develop a taste for human food and garbage, which can cause problems in areas where humans camp.
    • Unlike other bears that hibernate completely, black bears can easily be woken from their winter slumber in dens they create underground or in tree hollows.


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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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