American Black Bear

Black bears are quite common in America, but if you met one it would probably run away.

Black bears have big black coats and love being in forests.

American black bear

American Black Bear Facts for Kids

  • Black bears eat berries nuts, acorns, moths, termites, and even bees.
  • They have a very strong sense of smell that is seven times stronger than a dog.
  • The female black bear has cubs once every two years.
  • Brown bears claws are non-retractable.
  • Sometimes a white cub is born. It is thought of a spirit bear.
  • When they hibernate they go into a very deep sleep. They do not eat or perform any of their normal body functions.
  • They mark trees in their territory with their claws and teeth.

Where they are found

they are only found in North America. You can see them in the forest areas of Canada and down in New Mexico.

What do they look like

American black bear

They have a large body and a small tail. Their ears are rounded and they have small eyes that may be hard to see in the black fur. The black bear has a long snout.

The male bears weigh between 150 – 300 kg and the females between 41 – 79kgs.

Black bears are not always black. They can be brown, light brown and even a blue/grey color. They always have the same features.

Where do they live

American black bear

They are excellent climbers and swimmers. The forest bears eat fruit and berries in the forest.

Bears that live in Alaska like catching and eating salmon. They can catch and eat a salmon weighing 30kgs.

That is a very big fish. Bears that live near houses and camping sites have decided leftovers are a good idea to eat. They will overturn trash cans to get at rubbish.

They have a very powerful sense of smell food items and can sniff out trash very easily.

They live on their own. The female bear will stick with her cubs while they are growing up but most of the time the bears like to live alone.

In winter months they sleep in their dens. They don’t move, they don’t eat, they just sleep. That’s why they are called hibernating. Hibernating means sleeping through the Winter.

They make their dens in brush piles, caves, and many other types of sheltered spots and even in tree holes.

They put on extra weight in summer and will travel distances depending on food availability. When winter comes they sleep until spring.

Family life and Bear Habitat

American black bear

They mate in the summer months of June and July.

After 215 days the cubs are born.

The black bear cubs stay with their mother for two years to learn everything they need to know about living in the forest from swimming to catching fish.

The mother bear can have from 1 – 6 cubs.


American black bear

They can make themselves look fierce by standing on their hind legs.

They are not really fierce and will usually run away. They can make different sounds to communicate with each other.

Grunting is a sound that means happy and a blowing sound means afraid.

Predators and dangers

American black bear

Black bears are known as apex predators.

They are at the top of their food chain and do not really have many enemies.

The adult bears enemy is another adult bear or a hunter.

The cubs have to be protected from coyotes, cougars, bobcats, wolves, and other bears.

Contribution to nature

American black bear

The black bear’s main contribution to nature comes after the winter is over.

When he wakes from hibernating he cleans up any leftover carrion from animals that did not survive the winter.

The black bear does not mind eating from the trash can or from old carcasses, he is a scavenger.

New vocabulary.

Apex: being at the top of something.
Carrion: left over met and bones after an animal has died.
Non-retractable: can not be drawn back inside. Like claws they remain sticking out.

Questions and answers.

1.What are black bears good at in the forests where they live?
Black bears are good climbers and swimmers.

2.Why is it true to say black bears are scavengers?
They are scavengers because they eat from trash cans and they eat carrion.

3.How often does the mother bear have cubs?
Mother bears produce cubs once every tow years.

4.Which animals are a threat to the safety of the bear cubs?
Wolves, coyote, cougars, bobcats, and other black bears are a threat to the cubs.

5.Do black bears normally attack people?
Black bears are normally afraid of people. They would protect their cubs, but not deliberately attack people.