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Black Bear Facts
Did you know that although they are called black bears, colors can range from black to cinnamon brown, silver-blue and, occasionally, even white? The white bears are called "Spirit" or "Kermode" bears.
Fast Facts About Black Bears
1. eat mostly berries, nuts, grasses, carrion, and insect larvae
2. have color vision and a keen sense of smell
3. are good tree climbers and swimmers
4. very intelligent and curious
5. can run up to 35 miles per hour
6. weigh an average of 125 to 600 pounds
7. go without food for up to 7 months during hibernation in northern ranges
8. usually give birth to 2 to 3 cubs during the mother's sleep every other year
9. can live over 25 years in the wild (average age in the wild is 18)
10. are typically shy and easily frightened
Black bears have lost over 60% of their historical range. As human encroachment increases, preserving large areas of undeveloped land where bears and other animals can thrive is vital. Crucial components include adequate sources of food and water, denning sites such as rock crevices, hollow trees, and dense vegetation, contiguous travel corridors with sufficient cover for protection from poachers, harassment, and associated dangers from human development.
Avoiding "nuisance" encounters in Bear Country
Black bears are highly intelligent and adaptable. This species has a great capacity to live in close proximity to people. Unfortunately, many bears are shot needlessly because of unfounded fear and human carelessness. Led by a keen sense of smell, bears will naturally gravitate to potential food sources found in unsecured garbage, bird feeders, orchards, farm crops, beehives, outside pet food, and organic compost piles. FOOD AND FEAR DRIVE BLACK BEAR BEHAVIOR. Therefore:
you encounter a black bear
Note: Bear attacks on humans are extremely rare. A person is 180 times more likely to be killed by a bee and 160,000 times more likely to die in a car accident. Most injuries from black bears occur when people try to feed, pet, or crowd them. Bears will nip or cuff bad-mannered humans, as they will bad-mannered bears. They are very strong and powerful animals; bears should always be treated with caution and respect.
prepared by Andrea Hess