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USA (national)

West Virginia State Animal:

portrait of a black bear - click to see all state animals
Black bear photo © Roy Mac on Flickr (used by permission)
See All State Animals - Mammals.

Black Bear

See black bear video below

The state Division of Natural Resources conducted a poll to elect a state animal as a symbol for West Virginia in 1954. The students, teachers, and sportsmen of West Virginia chose the black bear as the the animal symbol for West Virgnia by a large margin. The bear population has been increasing since then, living in all of West Virginia's 55 counties. The black bear is also the state mammal of Louisiana (photo of black bear swimming) and state animal of New Mexico (photo of black bear standing).

Adult black bear - click to see all state animal symbols
Black bear photo © Jerry DeBoer on Flickr (used by permission)
See All State Animals - Mammals.

Black bears are very intelligent, shy, and secretive animals - actually seeing a bear in the wild is a very rare experience. Black bears (Ursus americanus) are not always black - there are cinnamon, white, beige, and "blue" (slate gray) black bears. Adult black bears vary considerably in size, from 130 - 500 pounds (occasionally as much as 700). The black bear is omnivorous and will eat just about anything. While they prefer nuts, berries, grasses, and roots, they also eat insects and small mammals, and if nothing else is available, carrion. The black bear ranges from the far north (Alaska and northern Canada) to northern Mexico. They can run up to 30 mph and are good swimmers.

Black bear cub - click to see all state mammal symbols
Black bear cub in tree - photo © Benjamin Olson on Flickr
(used by permission). See All State Animals - Mammals.

The black Bear is a solitary creature (except females with cubs). A mating pair may stay together for one to several days, then part ways. The cubs are born in the winter during hibernation, and will remain with their mother until their second summer. When they emerge from the winter den the mother teaches the cubs which plants to eat and where to find the grubs and other insects that will supplement their diets.

Source:
State Symbols: West Virginia official website
Black bear facts: North American Bear Center
Black bear facts & sounds: North American Bear Center
WV Bears: West Virginia Bears
Links:
State symbols of West Virginia: WV.gov
Mammals of West Virginia (PDF): WV Div. Natural Resources
American Black Bear fact sheet: Smithsonian's ZooGoer
Black Bear Home Page: North American Bear Center
All State Animals - Mammals


    

 

West Virginia Symbols & Icons:

bird - butterfly
animal - flower
fish - insect
tree - reptile
fruit - gem

flag - seal
motto - quarter
name - nickname
colors - soil
song 1 - 2 - 3
 

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