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Goodness Is Never Too Far Ahead


B.Dazzle Black Bears, Scramble Squares



The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common bear species native to North America. It is a close relative of the Asiatic Black Bear with which it is believed to share a common European ancestor. Black bears live throughout North America, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and from northern Alaska to Mexico. They live in 41 of the 50 states of the United States and in all Canadian provinces, except Prince Edward Island. Although black bears favor forested regions where they can feed on and take refuge in trees, they have adapted to widely differing habitats. Bears are omnivores. Vegetation such as berries and nuts make up approximately 85% of their diet, but insects and animal carcasses provide bears with valuable sources of protein. Their love for honey is well known, and sweet, ripe corn is also a favorite food of black bears in the autumn.


Black bears choose a site for a den as winter approaches. Dens are usually hollow stumps, tree cavities, a dug out hole under an overturned tree or a warm dark cave of earth or stone. Bears in the Smokies are unusual because they often den high above the ground in standing hollow trees. Bears do not truly hibernate, but enter long periods of sleep. They may leave the den for short periods if disturbed or during brief warming trends. One to four cubs are born in January and February during the mother’s winter sleep. Cubs weigh only 8 -14 ounces at birth and are blind, nearly hairless and completely helpless when born. The mother nurses her cubs with rich milk, and by the time the bears start leaving their dens at the spring thaw in March and April, the cubs are inquisitive, playful fur-balls of energy weighing about 4 to 8 pounds (2-4 kg).



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