American Black Bears
American black bears appear in a variety of colors despite their name. In the eastern part of their range, most of these bears have shiny black fur, but in the west they grow brown, red, or even yellow coats. To the north, the black bear is actually gray or white in color. Even in the same litter, both brown and black furred bears may be born.Black bears are the smallest of all American bears, ranging in length from five to six feet, weighing from three hundred to five hundred pounds. Their eyes and ears are small and their eyesight and hearing are not as good as their sense of smell.
Like all bears, the black bear is timid, clumsy, and rarely dangerous, but if attacked, most can climb trees and cover ground at great speeds. When angry or frightened, it is a formidable enemy.Black bears feed on leaves, herbs, roots, fruit, berries, insects, fish, and even larger animals. One of the most interesting characteristics of bears, including the black bear, is their winter sleep. Unlike squirrels, woodchucks, and many other woodland animals, bears do not actually hibernate. Although the bear does not eat during the winter months,sustaining itself from body fat, its temperature remains almost normal, and it breathes regularly four or five times per minute.
Most black bears live alone, except during mating season. They prefer to live in caves, hollow logs, or dense thickets. A litter of one to four cubs is born in January or February after a gestation period of six to nine months, and they remain with their mother until they are fully grown or about one and a half years old. Black bears can live as long as thirty years in the wild, and even longer in game preserves set aside for them.
在北部，黑熊其实长着灰色或白色的毛。 就是在一胎所生的小熊中，都可能混杂棕毛和黑毛。 黑熊是 所有美洲熊中最小的，5～6 英尺长，300～500磅重。它们的眼睛和耳朵都很小，他们的视 力和听觉不如嗅觉那样好。 像所有的熊一样，黑熊胆小，笨拙，很少具有危险性。 但如果受到攻击，大部分黑熊会以很快的速度爬上树和奔跑。 当发怒或受惊吓时，黑熊会成为可 怕的对手。
黑熊以树叶、草、树根、水果、浆果、昆虫、鱼，甚至更大的动物为食。 熊类， 包括黑熊的最有趣的一个特点是他们的冬眠。与松鼠、旱獭和其它别的林地动物不同，熊 并不真正地冬眠。 虽然熊在冬天的几个月中不吃东西，靠体内脂肪维持生命，但它们的体温保持正常，并有规律地一分钟呼吸 4 或 5 次。除交配季节外，大多数黑熊独自生活。 他 们喜欢住在洞里、空心的大木头里或茂密的树丛里。 经过 6到 9 个月的怀孕期后一胎 1～4 个小熊在 1 月或 2 月出生。 它们同母熊住在一起，直到它们完全长大，即 1 岁半左右。黑熊在野外可以活到长达 30 年，在专门的保护区中甚至能活得更长。