Q:

How do black bears protect themselves?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary way black bears defend themselves is by avoiding danger. When they cannot avoid danger, their first response is to climb a tree. Black bears are remarkable climbers and the only bear species in North America that do so as adults, although their climbing ability declines with age.

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Full Answer

The coats of black bears, which are not always black, also help protect the bears from predators, as the cryptic colors blend in with the habitat. If a bear has no viable escape option and must confront a predator, it often engages in mock charges. During such encounters, black bears may slap the ground, emit vocalizations or chomp their teeth in an attempt to drive off the perceived threat.

Adult black bears have an exceptionally low mortality rate because they have few natural predators. However, humans, grizzly bears and other members of their own species are all documented predators of adult black bears. Humans are the most important causes of adult black bear mortality, which occurs in the form of hunting and vehicular collisions. Young bears have even more predators due to their small size. Approximately one in five cubs dies in its first year, usually as a result of predation by hawks, foxes, bobcats or coyotes.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where can you find information on black bears?

    A:

    National Geographic provides information about black bears, including size, life expectancy, territory, reproduction and behavior. There is also an audio file that features sounds made by a black bear.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about black bears for kids?

    A:

    The black bear is formally known as the American Black Bear, because it is native to North America. The black bear is medium in size, and is the most widely distributed species of bear in North America. Black bears are omnivores, so they eat both plants and meat.

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  • Q:

    What are the prey and predators of black bears?

    A:

    Black bears do not have any real predators except for humans and the destruction they cause to the environment. Conversely, black bears prey upon white-tailed deer fawns, small woodland mammals and beaver only when presented with the opportunity.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about black bears?

    A:

    The black bear is a small bear found in North America that has short strong claws, making it an excellent tree climber. Black bears can be various shades of black, brown and cinnamon colors. There is a rare subset of this species with white fur.

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