Black Bear

Alabama State Mammal


American black bear

Black bear photo © Roy Mac on Flickr (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Black Bear

Alabama designated the black bear as official state mammal in 1996. 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.

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.



Black bear photo © Nature's Pic's ( - black bear) - published under terms of Creative Commons 3.0 license.


Black bear watches young cubs playing - BBC wildlife