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American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) - Wiki
Subject: American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) - Wiki
American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) close-up.jpg
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American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) - Wiki

American Black Bear
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] Ursus americanus, American black bear, photo by Dr. William Weber.

The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common bear species native to North America.

It lives throughout much of the continent, from northern Canada and Alaska south into Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This includes 39 of the 50 U.S. states and all Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island. Populations in the east-central and southern United States remain in the protected mountains and woodlands of parks and preserves, though bears will occasionally wander outside the parks' boundaries and have set up new territories, in some cases on the margins of urban environments in recent years as their populations increase. Although there were probably once as many as two million black bears in North America long before European colonization, the population declined to a low of 200,000 as a result of habitat destruction and unrestricted hunting culls. By current estimates, more than 600,000 are living today on the continent.

Physical description
The American Black Bear is about 1.8 m (6 feet) long. Females weigh between 40 and 180 kg (90 and 400 pounds); males weigh between 68 and 180 kg (150 and 400 pounds). Cubs usually weigh 200 to 450 g (between seven ounces and one pound) at birth. The adult has small eyes, rounded ears, a long snout, a large body, and a short tail. It has an excellent sense of smell. Though they generally have shaggy black hair, the coat can vary in color depending on the subspecies, from white through chocolate-brown, cinnamon-brown and blonde, found mostly west of the Mississippi River, to black in the east (the same is generally true in Canada, the border being between Manitoba and Ontario). Further adding to the confusion, they occasionally have a slight white chest blaze on either side of the river.

Although they are able to stand and walk on their hind legs, they usually stand or walk on all four legs; when they do stand, it is usually to get a better scent or look at something. Their characteristic shuffling gait results from walking flat-footed (called plantigrade), with the hind legs slightly longer than the front legs. Another reason for the apparent shuffle is that they commonly walk with a pacing gait. Unlike many quadrapeds such as your dog, the legs on one side move together instead of alternating. Think of a pacer horse. Each paw has five strong claws used for tearing, digging, and climbing. One blow from a powerful front paw can kill an adult elk.

Family: Ursidae
- American Black Bear, Ursus americanus
- Cinnamon Bear, Ursus americanus cinnamomum
- Kermode Bear, Ursus americanus kermodei

The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.

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