Black Bear, US Fish & Wildlife photoBlack Bear, US Fish & Wildlife photoBlack Bear, Bob Chinn photo

The smallest and most common bear in North America, the American black bear (Ursus americanus) lives primarily in the forests within the Crown of the Continent. Omnivores, their diet consists of vegetation in the form of roots, young shoots from trees, shrubs, berries, fruits, grasses, nuts and buds, along with insects and even the occasional carcass. They also raid the nut caches of squirrels, steal eggs from bird nests, and dig honeycombs out from trees. Black bears remain dormant in dens for the winter months, reducing their metabolism and going without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating until spring.

Currently, research is underway to determine black bear numbers using DNA obtained from hair collected on bear rub trees.