The American black bear is native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. Black bears are omnivores with their diets varying greatly, depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. Sometimes, they become attracted to human communities because of the immediate availability of food. The American black bear is the world’s most common bear species.
American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.
Despite living in North America, American black bears are not closely related to brown bears or polar bears. American black bears can be distinguished from brown bears by their smaller size, less concave profiles, shorter claws and lack of a shoulder hump.
Black bears are highly dexterous, being capable of opening screw-top jars and manipulating door latches. They also have great physical strength. They have been known to turn over flat-shaped rocks weighing 310 to 325 pounds by flipping them over with a single foreleg. They move in a rhythmic, sure-footed manner, and can run at speeds of 25 – 30 mph.
Black bears have good eyesight. Adult males typically weigh between 126 – 551 pounds, while females weigh 33% less, or 90 – 375 pounds.