The Black Bear
The black bear has managed to be quite prolific and successful as bears go. The eighteen known subspecies can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Estimates of the number of black bears in North America vary, with 750,000 being the most often suggested. In the state of Pennsylvania there are believed to be more than 7000 of the animals scattered across the state.
Despite their name, black bears can actually appear in a variety of colors. There are brown black bears, white black bears, and even the blue glacier bear.
Expert estimates of the weights of the bears also seem to vary widely. Conservative measurements put the average weight of the animals is around 300 pounds. However, the degree of sexual dimorphism exhibited by the species makes accurate accounts difficult. The largest black bear recorded was a male shot in Wisconsin in 1885. The bear was 802 pounds, far heavier than would be expected.
They have a wide an varied diet. They can and will eat nearly anything. Typical of bears, they are fond of honey, and are responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage to aphiaries each year.
The black bear has claws which are shorter and more curved than those of the grizzly bear. This allows it to have a great agility in climbing trees. Often, a sow will encourage her cubs to tree themselves while there is danger. Black bears have a characteristic way of climbing and descending trees. They mostly use their front claws for climbing and keeping a hold.