Glenda – Black Bear

Glenda is a female Black Bear (Ursus americanus) who is estimated to have been born in late 2013. Glenda was found in a backyard in Glendora, California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife attempted to relocate her several times but she kept returning to the same area. Glenda was considered a non-releasable bear and she was brought to the Foundation to join our native species educational program.

The black bear is North America’s smallest and most common species of bear. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on the season and location. The black bear is characterized by its broad head, narrow muzzle, and strong jaw. They have short, rounded claws and small, rounded ears. The black bear’s fur is soft a with dense underfur. Despite their name, black bears can show a great deal of color variation, including white, blond, cinnamon, dark chocolate brown, and jet black.

Black bears are incredibly intelligent and clever. They are capable of open screw-top jars and manipulating door latches. They are also very strong and have been known to flip over flat-shaped rocks weighing up to 325 pounds with a single forelimb. Black bears are excellent climbers and are able to run at speeds up to 30 mph.

Black bears were once classified as not true hibernators; however, now they are considered highly efficient hibernators because it was discovered that they possess the ability to change their metabolism and remain dormant for months. Black bears typically hibernate in cold weather conditions and when food is scarce. Depending on the climate, black bears will enter their dens in October and November and typically hibernate for three to eight months, but they remain somewhat alert and active during this time.

The black bear has a widespread distribution and a large global population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined. They typically live in largely forested areas, but will leave in search of food. Although American black bears are quite capable of killing a human, they typically avoid confrontation with humans as much as possible. The majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger. The best way to prevent conflict with a black bear is to avoid it all together and properly manage any food sources that may attract a bear.

American Black Bear Trivia: Studies have shown that bears are able to learn visual discrimination tasks based on color faster than chimpanzees and as fast as dogs.

American Black Bear Statistics:

Body Size 4 – 6.5 ft long, 2.3 – 3.5 ft tall
Weight Males 125 – 550 lbs, Females 90 – 275 lbs
Gestation Period 235 days
Litter Size 2 – 3 cubs
Life Span 15 – 20 years in the wild, up to 44 years in captivity
Protection Status Least Concern