Black Bear

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                          Black Bear

                    (Ursus Americanus)



DIET: Largely vegetarian, but always appreciates meat. Berries,
acorns, and pine seeds are the bears main diet. Honey is sought as a
special treat.


AVERAGE WEIGHT: 240-600 lbs

This is the only bear native to Michigan.

These large powerful animals are still common in dense forests containing
a thick underbrush where human interference is still low; as a general rule,
Black Bears are as shy of people, as people are afraid of them! They mainly
rely on their nose, more so than their ears and eyes to find food and to
avoid danger. Their thick fur coat is mostly black or dark brown, often
with a V-shaped whitish throat patch. Each large foot has five toes with
claws that are always out.

Mating takes place during early summer, but the embryo does not start to
grow until the cow starts her winter dormancy, so in January or February
the cubs are born (two is the average size litter). Newborn cubs are very
tiny especially compared to the adults; their average size is 10 ounces,
roughly the size of a small rat.

During warm weather the bears rest under a shady shrub or branch, but as
winter approaches they seek out a simple den to spend the cold months in.
Inside this den the ground is covered with moss, grass or leaves. Bears
store an enormous amount of fat during the fall to get ready for winter.
From early November to mid-April they hibernate without eating or
drinking a thing; their heart rate goes from 40 to 10 beats per minute and
their body temperature drops from 100 F to 91 F. This small drop in body
temperature allows the bear to survive the winter on fat reserves alone.