The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common medium sized bear in North America. Due to the species widespread across the United States it is estimated that their population is about twice that of all other bear species combined. They are heavily distributed throughout the United States in large forested areas but can be found throughout neighborhoods close to the woods in search of food. Typically most black bears weigh around 125 lbs to 250 lbs but vary according to several factors such as age and sex. A black bears weight can vary from season to season depending on the availability of food.
Black Bear Habitat
Black bears can be found in over 10 counties in the state of New Hampshire. They typically inhabit thick forested areas and mountainous regions with much vegetation and edible material such as masts, and berries. They gravitate towards areas with enough food for consumption post winter months. They prefer relatively unattainable terrains with little to no human contact. As they hibernate for the winter, black bears prefer to den in hollow trees , brush piles and logging slash. Winter dens for a black bear are roughly about 5 1⁄2 feet long and 2 feet high. A black bear generally chooses a winter den that can accommodate their size and cubs if necessary.
Black Bear Nutrition and Diet
Black bears diets depend on the season. As they emerge from hibernation black bears will consume grasses and other vegetation like succulent plants and carrion from winter killed animals. As summer progresses they shift their dietary needs to more nutritious foods such as:
- Roots (Oats)
- Fruits (berries, crabapples, serviceberries, blueberries, apples)
- Insects, commercial hives,
- Nuts (Hickory Nuts, Acorns, Beechnuts)
- Fish (Atlantic Salmon)
Most of the food they consume is found throughout the wilderness and in close proximity to where they settle. If food becomes scarce and natural foods are no longer abundant from other environmental factors, black bears will resort to roaming through human communities and can be found rummaging through garbages in residential areas.