the smallest North American Bear


  • found across Canada, including the north
  • found in western United States
  • lives in wooded areas and mountains
  • smallest bear in North America
  • male can be 2 metres ( 6 ft. ) in length ; 1 metre ( 3 ft. ) to the shoulders
  • not all are black, some are dark brown or rusty brown
  • brown patch on the nose, stubby tail, sharp claws

  • able to climb trees, wraps front legs around the trunk
    bear in a tree
  • eats campers' food, goes into trash cans
  • sleeps during the winter, might come out on warm days
  • looks for a den under a fallen tree, in a hollow log, in a cave.
  • may also dig a small hole in a hillside
  • females line the den with grass and leaves
  • eats alot in the fall to fatten up
  • not a true hibernator
  • very hungry when it comes out of the den in spring
photo by Tom Brakefield,
California Academy of Sciences


  • was once hunted for sport
  • now protected in some areas of Canada and the US
  • illegally killed for their bladders, paws, other body parts
  • has few enemies, animals are afraid to attack the bear
  • strong, has powerful paws and sharp teeth
  • can move fast for a short distance and can swim
  • two or three cubs born every two years
  • born in January or February
  • newborns are naked and blind, 15 to 20 cm. long
  • spend the winter in the den drinking mother's milk
  • by May their coats have grown
  • spend second winter with mother in the den
  • cubs whine (sounds like a baby crying)


  • spend most of their time looking for food
  • eat plants - twigs, buds, leaves, nuts, roots, fruit, berries, plant shoots
  • also eat ants, honey, fish
  • use sharp claws to tear bark from trees and to rip open rotten logs to look for insects and grubs
  • climb trees for birds' eggs and to get to beehives
  • sometimes eat small mammals
  • catch fish with paws or teeth
  • stand up on hind legs to smell
black bear by G.and B. Corsi,
    California Academy of Sciences


images : Manzanita Project
bbear.jpg and bbear2.jpg - Tom Brakefield California Academy of Sciences.
bbear1.jpg - Gerald and Buff Corsi California Academy of Sciences.

information from Hinterland CWS and Wildlife Fact File

2001 (updated 2011)
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