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Florida Boardwalk Animal Fact Sheet
Ursus americanus floridanus

Throughout North America, the black bear is seen in Alaska, Canada, and in a few regions of the western and northeastern USA. Males 30-66 sq. miles; female 10-11 sq. miles. The Florida subspecies is found in small pockets throughout Florida.

Early settlers disliked bears because of their occasional raids on hog pens, spring houses and bee yards. Killing a black bear was considered an act of bravery among many American Indians and bear teeth and claws were symbols of bravery. There is a demand for the black bear's gall bladder, or "ungdam" which is believed to be an aphrodisiac. The meat is edible and the hide, head, teeth, skull and claws are "good trophies". It has been hunted for sport and persecuted as a pest. Habitat loss is also a serious threat, as this bear seems to require large areas of dense vegetation and adequate food.

Habitat: Dense forests, swamps and hammocks
Diet: An omnivore that feeds on nuts (including acorns), berries, honey, fruits, grasses, swamp cabbage, livestock, carrion, worms, grubs, ants, fish, rodents, birds and eggs
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult: Weight: average 220 lbs. males are generally 1/4 larger than females.
Lifespan: 15-25 years
Reproduction & Offspring: This primarily nocturnal bear is solitary, except for courting pairs and mothers with young. The black bear reaches sexual maturity at 2-4 years of age, and the female gives birth in a den (usually a hollow log) or on a ground bed in a thicket. One to four (avg.2) cubs are born every other year. They weigh about 12 ounces at birth and remain with their mother for 1.5 years. During this time the cubs learn how to find food and how to avoid danger. Females remain near their mother's range and males disperse. Male black bears play no role in raising their young. "Bear Trees" are trees which have been clawed/marked/scented to mark territories and as a communication point. The availability of food is a major influence on bear behavior. A scarcity of food may drive bears into towns (garbage cans and dumps). This is often mistaken for a population explosion.


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