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Black Bear

In North America, three kinds of bears, Ursus americanus, are found namely The Black, Grizzly and Polar Bear. However, the American black bear, also known as the cinnamon bear, is most common among all and also is the smallest.

Generally, a black bear is about 5 feet long, and the weight of female ranges between 90 to 400 pounds while it is between 110 to 880 pounds for a male. A cub of the black bear is approximately 8 inch long with weight ranging between seven ounces to a pound. The color of hair may vary, i.e., it may be white, chocolate brown, dark brown, black, etc., but in general it is black or a darker shade of brown. An adult black bear has small eyes, rounded ears, a long snout, a large body, and a short tail. Average life span of a black bear in wild is about 20 years.

A female black bear gives birth to her cubs during January or early February. A female black bear gives birth to cubs every second year and these are two to three in number and rarely four. The cubs are born in a den or a cave, and stay there for about three months. However, the female dens alone.

After reaching the age of three or four months the little cubs emerge from the cave and start following their mother to learn the lessons of life for survival, which includes the kind of food to be taken and from where it is to be found; how to find a shelter, and about the risks. The cubs remain under the protection of their mother for their first winter and by the second winter they become independent.

The most important aspect in the survival of the cubs is the ability of the mother to teach them how to survive. Generally, female black bears keep the little cubs away from male black bear, as they may kill them! Also, the female black bear is very caring and protective to her cubs, and she could risk her life to protect them from any danger! That is why it is dangerous for human to be in between the mother and her cubs.

Except for breeding and the time while growing, black bear has a solitary nature and these live in defined territories. However, the range of the territories differ for male and female, as female have shorter territories than males, and in some cases female territories lies inside the male territories. Also the range of territory depends upon the availability of the food, as a huge amount of food is required to feed a bear.

Black Bears are omnivores, i.e., they eat both plants and animal material. However, black bears eat during cool evening time or early in the morning. Also, with the arrival of fall, black bear eat a large amount of food so that enough weight is gained to sustain during the winter hibernation, as during this period the survival depends totally on the reserve fat of the body.

Further Reading

Animal Diversity Web
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ursus_americanus.html

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