Black Bear

Ursus americanus

Photo: Nancy Turner

Appearance

Black bears can be coloured black, brown (cinnamon bear), white (kermode bear) and even blue (glacier bear). They are shorter and rounder than grizzly bears, and have bigger ears and longer faces. Black bears can run at speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour and can weigh up to 270 kilograms. If standing, they can be over two metres tall!

Range & Habitat

The males travel up to 25 kilometres daily looking for food, with trips of over 150 kilometres being recorded. They are found in all sorts of habitats, but mostly below the tree line. In B.C., this animal lives in the Georgia Depression, Coast and Mountains, Central Interior, Sub-Boreal Interior, Southern Interior Mountains, Boreal Plains, Taiga Plains, and Northern Boreal Mountains ecoprovinces.

Diet & Behaviour

Black Bears catch salmon by waiting below water falls or fishing with their claws downstream. They can eat about 15 salmon per day when the salmon are spawning. Their favourite parts of salmon are the brains, eggs, and back muscles because they’re full of calories and produce the most energy. They eat mostly plants the rest of the year including roots, leaves, berries, but they also eat insects and garbage.

Lifecycle & Threats

During the winter black bears hibernate. When they hibernate, they sleep for four to eight months in fallen logs, dens, caves and in holes at the tops of trees. Bear cubs may be eaten by wolves, coyotes, cougars, or bobcats. Hunting by humans is the leading cause of death in adult bears of all species.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.hww.ca

Photo: Patenaude