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Transcript of Animal Reports
Black bear weight tends to vary depending on age, sex, health and season.
In autumn their pre-den weight tends to be 30% higher than in spring after their hibernation.
Adult males tend to weigh between 125 and 550 lbs.
Adult females tend to weigh between 90 and 275 lbs.
Adults are 4-6 feet in length.
Females tend to have more slender and pointed faces than males.
The tail is usually 12 cm long.
The ears are small and rounded and set back on the head.
Black bears are smaller than brown bears.
The claws are short and rounded, being thick at the base and tapering to a point.
The foreclaws are more sharply curved
The fur is soft with dense underfur and long, coarse, thick guard hairs.
The fur is not as shaggy or coarse as that of a brown bear.
Despite their name black bears can be a variety of colours, ranging from blonde, cinnamon, light brown, to dark chocolate brown to dark black.
70 % of all black bears are black, though only 50 % of the black bears in the Rocky Mountains are black.
They mark their territory by rubbing on trees and clawing at bark.
Bears climb regularily to feed, escape enemies, or to hibernate.
Sounds expressing aggression include growls, snorts, bellows, woofs and roars.
Sounds expressing contentment include mumbles, squeaks and pants.
Reproduction & Development
Sows usually produce their first litter at the age of 3-5 years.
The breeding periods usually occus in June and July.
The gestation period lasts 235 days, and litters are usually born in late January to early February.
Litters usually consist of 2 cubs but litters of 6 have been recorded.
Cubs usually open their eyes after 28-40 days and begin walking after 5 weeks.
Cubs are dependent on their mother's milk for 30 weeks.
Cubs reach independence at 16-18 months.
Cubs reach sexual maturity at 3 years.
The average lifespan in the wild is 18 years.
Bears are not true hibernators but do go into a dormant state over winter.
Bears enter their dens in October and November usually putting on 30 lbs of fat to get them through the winter.
Black bears are usually dormant for 3-5 months.
During winter black bears consume 25- 40 % of their body weight.
After emerging from their winter dens they wander their territories for 2 weeks accustomizing themselves to activity.
During the winter dormancy the bears do not eat, drink, pee or poop.
Up to 85 % of the black bear's diet consists of vegetation
Young shoots from trees and bushes are important to black bears emerging from hibernation because they help rebuild muscle and strengthen their skeletons.
The majority of the black bear's animal diet include insects such as bees, yellow-jackets, ants and their larvae.
Black bears will fish for salmon during the night.
Black bears will prey on mule and white-tail fawns in some areas but don't usually try to attack adult deer because they are too swift.
Black bears often drag their prey to cover as they prefer to feed in seclusion.
Range and Population
Historically black bears occupied the majority of Noth America's forested regions but are now limited to sparsely settled forrested areas.
The Canadian black bear population in the 1990's was between 327 000 to 341 000.