American black bear in exhibit

American Black Bear

Scientific Name
Ursus americanus
North America
Forests, mountainous regions, swamplands, and brush areas
Estimated Wild Population
More than 950,000
American black bear in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

American black bears range in color from black to brown, grow six feet long, and weigh up to 600 pounds. Solitary animals, they roam huge territories that often overlap. They are classified as carnivores but often eat a more omnivorous diet featuring grasses, berries, insects, fish, mammals, and carrion. In winter, females birth two or three cubs and nurse them until spring. Cubs stay with the female for a couple years before venturing into the world on their own.

Did You Know?

Unlike other bears, black bears can easily wake up from their winter slumber.

Bears living near camp grounds often develop a taste for human food and garbage. Habituated bears are often killed to prevent attacks on humans.

Powerful limbs and strong claws make black bears excellent tree climbers.

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist