Black Bear Facts



  • American black bears vary in colour from black, through brown, cinnamon, honey and ice-grey, to white, according to regional races.
  • Beavers are a favourite food of some black bears, because of their high fat content.
  • In autumn, when they are feeding up for the winter sleep, black bears put on up to 1.5 kg per day.
  • Black bears mate in the summer, but the fertilized egg does not begin to develop until the autumn, and the cubs are born in January or February.
  • Black bears occasionally raid people’s beehives and orchards, as well as city dumps.
  • Black bears are excellent climbers and in autumn will climb trees and gorge themselves on fruit, nuts and berries.
  • ‘Nuisance’ bears that have learned to beg and scavenge garbage in US national parks have to be tranquillized and moved to new areas some distance away.
  • The most northerly Canadian black bears have a varied diet ranging from caribou and seals to birds’ eggs and tiny shrimp.
  • The sun bear of Southeast Asia is the world’s smallest bear, at 27-65 kg. It specializes in gathering honey and insects with its long tongue.
  • South America’s only bear is the spectacled bear, which builds feeding and sleeping platforms in the branches of fruit trees.
  • The black sloth bear of India has a mobile snout and closable nostrils for dealing with ants.
  • Asiatic black bears are constipated when they awake from their winter hibernation, and in Russia they drink birch tree sap as a laxative.