American black bear
|American black bear|
|Conservation status||Least concern|
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most widely distributed bear species, as well as the world's most common bear species. They also have a wider variety in fur color than any bear species: the usual black, cinnamon-brown, silvery-gray, and white.
American black bears are indigenous to North America, ranging from the swamps to mountains and forests. The states they live in the United States of America include Alaska, Alabama, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
The American black bear has good eyesight and hearing, but their sense of smell is the most superior of its senses. Its smell is stronger than that of a bloodhound. Out of the bears in the world, it is one of the four species (along with the giant panda, Asiatic black bear, and sun bear) that can climb well, climbing to escape from predators, feed, and sleep. They are also good swimmers, swimming for fun and catching fish.
American black bears are mainly foragers, feeding on grass, fruit, and nuts, though they will also feed on insects like bees and ants. Meat is also a part of their diet, which includes fish and young deer.
When the chance arrives, though, black bears will wander into towns, national parks, and campsites, looking for food leftover from humans. This increases the chance of human and bear encounters and eventually even leader to a bear attack.
Sows have their first litter at around three or five years of age. They can have up to two or three cubs in a litter during hibernation (late January or early February), the cubs leaving the den with their mother shortly after spring arrives. Like the adults, the cubs are capable of climbing trees and will climb to either escape predators, feed on fruits, or play with their siblings. The cubs stay with their mother until three years of age. The males don't partake in taking care of the cubs.
Black bears in culture
The teddy bear was created by Morris Michtom, who in turn was inspired by a cartoon involving President Theodore Roosevelt, who had refused to shoot a black bear cub when it was tied to a tree during a hunt.
A young American black bear named Winnipeg (who lived in the London Zoo) inspired the fictional character Winnie The Pooh. Winnipeg (who lived to be 20 years old) had lived in the London Zoo from 1915 to her death in 1934.
Ever since the Capitan Gap Fire in 1950, an American black bear had been the mascot of the United States Forest Service, represented by Smokey Bear. Said mascot has encouraged people to be careful when tending to campsite fires, warning with his slogan, "Only you can prevent wildfires".