Where Do Black Bears Live?

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The most common habitats for black bears are forested areas in North America where climbing trees and food sources are readily available. Keep your distance from a black bear that is spotted in the wild with advice from a science teacher in this free video on animal habitats.

Part of the Video Series: Animal Habitats
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Video Transcript

Smokey was always warning you about the dangers of forest fires, and Yogi was always looking for his picnic basket. Bears. They are portrayed as lovable creatures on cartoons, but in the wild they can be dangerous animals to encounter, especially if you encounter a mother with her cubs. Always best to proceed with caution in that situation. I'm Janice Creneti. I've been teaching animal science and environmental science for about twenty years, and I'm here to answer the question "Where do black bears live?" Black bears are a predominately North American mammal. They're the most common of the three varieties that we have here in the United States. They used to be found pretty much all over the United States back when it was heavily forested. Now because of development we still find them in about forty states, but in numbers that are much lower. When you're talking about where an animal lives there's actually two different answers. One is what habitat does it live in, and the other is its range. Range is how far it covers, that's what I was talking about covering most of the United States. But if we want to talk about what kind of environments we're likely to find a bear in then we're talking about habitat. Bears, black bears in particular, like forested areas. They have short non-retractable claws which makes them excellent at climbing trees. They can go up there to get some honey, or to even escape a predator if they're actually a small or juvenile bear. They also look for food sources such as berries, shrubs, and even small mammals on occasion if they can't find the plant food sources that are predominately in their diet. Occasionally they'll even go after fish. So they need to be in an ecosystem where those things are readily available. Black bears as I said are beautiful animals, but they can be dangerous if you encounter them in the wild. Best thing to do is make sure you are watching them from a very, very safe distance if you happen to spot one. I'm Janice Creneti, and this is 'Where do black bears live?"

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