AKA: American Black Bear
Identifying characteristics: As the name implies, this bear has a coat of thick black fur. The snout is cream-colored with a black nose. It has small eyes, large rounded ears, a dog-like snout and a small stubby tail. They walk on all fours, but will often stand on two legs when foraging, scouting or when threatened. The back legs are stronger and better developed than the fronts. Paws have five strong, sharp claws, used for climbing and foraging.
Size: Up to 7 feet in length, weighing up to 600 pounds. Males are generally larger than females. Cubs weigh up to 1 pound at birth.
Habitat: Hardwood forests, swampland forests, with abundant shrubbery and coverage and close proximity to open areas. Areas in close proximity to corn crops, nut/fruit bearing trees. Dens may be in caves, hollowed out trees or logs or underneath groupings of logs.
Food: Omnivorous. Grasses and other small plants, fruits, nuts, insect larvae, honey, rodents, fish, eggs, and carrion. May also prey on larger game.
Predators: Humans and larger black bears. Although they can live up to 30 years in the wild, human hunting, random killings and traffic accidents limit their average age to roughly 10 years.
Reproduction: Litter size average 3 with one litter every 3-4 years. Young stay with the mother for a year and a half.
Other Info.: Can be diurnal or nocturnal depending on the availability of food. They are generally afraid of humans and will turn and run at the first sign of an intruder on their territory, but are certainly capable of seriously harming or killing people. Their sense of smell is superb.
Vocalization: Grunts, moans and roars.
Found in the Adirondack region, Hudson Valley region and some parts of southwestern counties.
Look for paw prints with 5 claws. Front and back prints may overlap if bear was slowly walking. Front prints measure about 4 inches and rear prints are roughly 6 inches long. The stride ranges based on speed, from a foot walking to 3-5 feet running.