Fun Black Bear Facts For Kids

Danielle Outen
Jan 06, 2023 By Danielle Outen
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Learn more black bear facts here.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Black bears, which are often confused for grizzly bears, are bears found from North America to Asia. Black bears are found in the forest but sometimes come out of hiding if they smell delicious food. The cinnamon black bear is known to eat junk food it finds while wandering, but you should never leave junk food for black bears because it can make them sick!

Due to habitat loss and hunting, North American black bears have reduced their range over recent years by 70%.  Although their range decreased throughout the years, their population remains steady and a majority of black bears are found in California. Overall, black bears are gentler compared to other bears, so if you found these black bear facts for kids interesting, be sure to check out our facts about northern American black bears and the Asiatic black bear too. Before you know it, you’ll be a black bear expert!

Black Bear Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black bear?

The black bear, Ursus americanus, is a species of bear.

What class of animal does a black bear belong to?

Black bears are mammals.

How many black bears are there in the world?

There is estimated to be a population of 800,000 black bears currently in North America, but no population estimate exists for black bears all over the world.

Where does a black bear live?

Black bears are often found in woods or forest areas.

What is a black bear's habitat?

A black bear's range includes most of North America. A black bear habitat can be found in Canada, southern and northern Mexico, and large populations of black bears are found in the United States. An American black bear can inhabit both coniferous and deciduous forests, and black bear species are also found throughout regions in Asia.

Who do black bears live with?

Black bears, Ursus americanus, are normally solitary animals, but they may wander or hunt together in small family groups.

How long does a black bear live?

An American black bear has a life span of up to 30 years, but will most likely live for 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

American black bears reproduce when males mate with females. Females produce cubs every two years.

What is their conservation status?

Like grizzly bears, the black bear's conservation status is considered as Least Concern right now.

Black Bear Fun Facts

What do black bears look like?

Despite their name, black bears can be found in a range of colors. Many black bears are actually brown or cinnamon and sometimes are mistaken for grizzly bears, blacks bears can also be blue-gray, and on rare occasions, white.

How cute are they?

Cubs (baby black bears) are considered cute to many people. However, adult bears often frighten people due to their enormous size.

How do they communicate?

Black bears communicate through tongue clicks, grunts, blowing, and body language.

How big is a black bear?

The average American black bear height varies, but both males and females are averagely 50-80 in (127-203 cm) long. When compared to another American bear, the grizzly bear, the average black bear size is smaller.

How fast can a black bear run?

Black bears can run at speeds of around 35 mph (56 kph), which is around the average driving speed so think about that next time you are driving!

How much does a black bear weigh?

Black bear weight can vary depending on the season (spring or winter), sex (male or female), and location. North American black bears found in eastern regions tend to weigh more than those found in the west. Males typically weigh around 126–551 lb (57-250 kg), while a female black bear weighs 90–375 lb (41-170 kg). Even at their lowest weight, black bears are bigger than most humans!

What are their male and female names of the species?

A male black bear is called a boar, while a female black bear is referred to as a sow

What would you call a baby black bear?

Baby black bears are called cubs. Cubs weigh around 0.6–1 lb (280–450 g) at birth, which is smaller than a newborn human! Cubs are born blind and feed on their mother's breast milk. At 18 months old, cubs will leave their home and their mothers. Although cubs may look cute, it is important to never touch them as they have very sharp claws. Sadly, it is common for an American black bear to eat other cubs.

What do they eat?

The typical northern black bear diet consists of both animals and wildlife vegetation, making them omnivores. 85% of the average American black bear's diet is vegetation, and the chances of them eating humans in the wild are quite low. Black bear diets also range depending on the season. Around February, right after hibernation, North American black bears are often seen out hunting for the decaying flesh of dead animals. During the spring months, their diet includes wetland grass, foods within the root family, grasses, and bubs. During the summer, like July, black bear food choices include berries and other wild fruits. During August, and into the fall, hunting for food becomes the black bear's top priority since they don't eat during the winter months. In August, a North American black bear's diet will consist of various nuts that they find in the forest. Occasionally black bears will go hunting for fish, typically at night because they are less likely to be spotted. American black bears are honey lovers and will claw and chew their way through trees, but what about the stinging bees? The American bear, Ursus americanus, does not mind bee stings and will continue eating the honey. Talk about a sweet tooth!

Are they dangerous?

North American black bears are known to be friendlier than grizzly bears and other bears, but they are still considered dangerous animals.

Would they make a good pet?

No, an American black bear is typically larger than the average human and is too dangerous to keep as a pet.

Did you know...

Black bears can swim for an average of 1.5 mil (2.4 km) without stopping.

American black bears spend the entire winter sleeping in their dens, typically not waking up until February!

Black bears, Ursus americanus, consume the majority of their food during the summer and fall months, from July to November, so that they are able to hibernate during the long winter.

Black bears make their dens in caves and other hidden places. Sometimes their dens are even in trees!

Can you imagine a black bear vs brown bear tree climbing competition? Black bears would probably come out the winner due to their strong claws and amazing tree-climbing ability.

An adult black bear poop can weigh anything between 0.5-1 lb (227-454 g), which is the same size as a black bear cub.

Mother black bears can give birth to between one and six cubs at a time, but the average is three cubs. Mothers typically give birth to their cubs during hibernation.

The black bear, Ursus americanus, is a solitary species and these solitary animals mainly only interact during the mating season.

Types of black bear

North American black bears are found throughout different regions in North America. Black bears are also found in different parts of Canada, including British Columbia and Vancouver. Mexico is another place where the black bear is known to habitat. Black bears in Mexico are reportedly at risk of becoming extinct.  

The Asian black bear, also known as the Asiatic black bear, is considered one of the most aggressive bear species around. Asian black bears tend to be more aggressive towards humans than American black bears.

The spirit bear, Ursus americanus kermode, is a subspecies within the American black bear family. They are white in color and typically live along the coast of British Columbia, Canada in the nearby forest.  

What to do if you see a black bear?

Despite their large size, black bear attacks are uncommon because they are shy and often scared of humans. Just to be safe, here are a few tips to easily ward off a black bear. Firstly, if you see a black bear make sure you scream. Making a lot of noise is known to scare off a North American black bear. You should also stand tall, proud, and strong. Make sure to look a black bear in the eye and show them who is boss, and avoid running away or approaching the black bear. Making yourself appear bigger can also help to keep a black bear away.

If a black bear moves closer, you can spray some bear spray as he is approaching, and on the rare occasion that a bear attacks you, you should fight back. Humans facing a bear attack should never pretend to be dead. Once the bear is gone, you should remove any food or garbage that might have attracted the black bear.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the sun bear, or the brown bear.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Black Bear coloring pages.

Black Bear Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish, deer, elk, moose, and other hoofed animals

What Type of Animal were they?

Plants and Meat

Average Litter Size?

2-3 Cubs

How Much Did They Weigh?

200-600 lb (90-270 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?


Where Do They Live?

north america

How Long Were They?

50-80 in (127-203 cm)

How Tall Were They?

28-41 in (70-105 cm)







Scientific Name

Ursus americanus

What Do They Look Like?

Black, brown, cinnamon, blue-gray, and white

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Danielle Outen

Bachelor's degree specializing in Economics, Master's degree specializing in Development Management

Danielle Outen picture

Danielle OutenBachelor's degree specializing in Economics, Master's degree specializing in Development Management

Growing up in London, Danielle has a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Southampton and a Master's degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She has always been surrounded by a big family and loves outdoor activities and adventurous experiences. She has traveled the world in search of new waves to surf. Danielle enjoys discovering new and fun activities to share with her relatives.

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