While American Black Bears are primarily native to North America, they also inhabit Canada, northern Mexico and other regions throughout the USA. Unlike many mammals, they are surprisingly relaxed and adaptable to their surroundings - providing that the area meets all of their needs. Consequently bear habitat can be found in a range of environments, such as mountains, swamps, fields, forests of both hard and softwood, mountain laurel thickets, cornfields and even close to urban areas.

Dietary Influences

As with any bear habitat, a big factor when choosing their territory is the availability of food in that location. This often leads them to close proxies to urban areas, as there is greater chance of foraging high-energy foods.

Similar to other species, the Black Bear eats a mostly omnivore diet of vegetation including field grasses, roots, tubers, nuts, berries and fruits, as well as a range of insects. This makes finding a viable habitat a fairly easy task, as long as they remain within green areas.

Hibernation

In winter, Black Bears enter a state known as 'torpor', which allows them to sleep through the cold months but with the capability of being awoken, if necessary. The selection process of a bear habitat for hibernation is much more than that than the summer months, as they must ensure the area is secure from potential threats to their den.

Females, specifically, are very particular about their hibernation site as they will often be pregnant through winter, awaking to give birth within their den. To guard the newly born cub from predators, females seek out hidden-away and secure dens, which they will remain in for the winter winter season. Male bears will sometimes choose to go hunting if awoken from their hibernation.

Territorial Instincts

Black Bears mark their territory by scosting the trees with urine and scratching and rubbing the bark. They are predominately shy creatures, who will often choose to avoid or ignore one another rather than engage in conflict. If a continuous and voluminous food source is discovered in a bear habitat, however, there have been recorded instances where they have shared in order to take advantage of the stability of food.

Males spread their home range across distances of up to sixty square miles, and rarely share this range with other male bears. They will, however, share it with females, although ironically females are far more territorial about their home than males are. Where males will often bypass confrontation for peace, females are renounced for challenging trespassers in an aggressive manner.

In more recent decades, the ease of bear habitat adaptation has become a necessity for Black Bears (where it was once a luxury), as factors such as global warming, deforestation and territory separation threaten and significantly narrow down the choices.



Source by Marissa Ellis-Snow

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