The black bear is one of the most beautiful and dangerous mammals that we have in North America. This majestic animal has been around for a very long time, and it has become a master at adapting to the changes that it has faced. The black bear used to have plenty of room to roam and hunt, and now are finding themselves with less and less area. As this happens, interactions with humans are inevitable. This leads to very dangerous situations for not only humans, but the bears themselves.
Black bears are found throughout North America and share territory with the Grizzly or brown bear in some places. The black bear prefers to live in the forests, but will go anywhere that the food takes him. This is the largest reason that black bears and humans collide. Backyard gardens, trash bins, campsites and any other places where humans might leave food laying around are potential clash points for the black bear. If they smell food, they will come and investigate.
A black bear is quite large when fully grown and can weigh in excess of 650 pounds. This immense size is often packed into about a six foot body that is highly agile. The black bear can easily maneuver the harshest of environments and have been known to climb trees in pursuit of humans or food. The black bear is also very fast. Though heavy, the black bear is faster than us humans by a long shot. This is especially so over short distances as they are very quick in bursts.
Identifying the black bear is rather easy, but the grizzly is very similar. Not many people will confuse a black bear with anything else. A black bear is not always black, and this can lead to some people mistaking a black bear for the grizzly. They can be brown, blond and even tan as well as black. Much of this depends on where the bear is in the world, and their age. The black bear has large ears that allow them to hear quite well. The nose is their most powerful sense, as they can smell food from miles away.
Another key identifier for the black bear is the fact that their rump sits up high when they are on all fours. The grizzly is higher in the shoulder area. The black bear has dark claws that are very formidable weapons. They can use these claws to easily kill many enemies, including humans. They have been known to use these claws for very minute tasks as well such as opening oyster shells.
The real danger with black bears is when we cross their boundaries. The black bear is largely uninterested in humans on the whole and just wish to be left alone to eat and take care of their cubs. The most dangerous scenario is to come across a mother black bear with her cubs, in fact. They may see you as a threat to the cubs, and will quickly attack if they think this is the case. For this reason, it is very important to make sure you pay attention when you are in bear country. The worst thing you can do is to happen upon and surprise a black bear.