The black bear ranges across forested Canada from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia, as well as over much of the U.S.A. and parts of Mexico. A solitary animal most of the year, it pairs-up briefly during the mating season, which is in summer. Cubs remain with their mother for longer than a year.
Males at about 170 cm (67 in.), are about 10% longer than females. Because black bears hibernate, they put on a tremendous amount of weight in autumn. They characteristically drop around 30% of their body-weight during hibernation. Females who nurse newborns during this time can lose more than 40% of their body weight during hibernation.
Litter size varies from one to four cubs, depending on the size and health of the female. Females have cubs every two to three years.
Black bears swim well and often climb trees to feed on buds and fruit. They have a keen sense of smell and acute hearing, but poor eyesight. They can be seen at any hour of the day, but are most active at night. When very young, the cubs cry when afraid and hum when contented.
Black bears are omnivorous; their diet consists of about 75% vegetable matter, 15% carrion and 10% insects and small mammals. Their love for honey is well known, and sweet, ripe corn also attracts them in autumn.
Black bears have few enemies, but the one they fear the most is the grizzly bear. Whenever their territories overlap, the grizzly is given a wide berth.