The adult black bear enclosure is home to the more mature and larger bears at Bearizona, including Big Dan, the poster boy of the park.
Black bears are the least endangered of the 8 bear species, but their abundance can cause conflicts with people. The majority of bears at Bearizona came to us because they were considered “nuisance bears”, or bears that had lost their fear of humans. This often occurs due to people intentionally feeding wild bears, but can also be caused unintentionally by people leaving food out for their pets, hanging bird feeders, or not securing their garbage. When bears are looking to pack on weight, all of these look like easy meals to them. Unfortunately, not every habituated bear can go to a home like Bearizona, and oftentimes they must be euthanized. If you live in bear country, it’s important to live Bear Smart. Take down bird feeders, don’t leave any food outside, and secure your garbage with a bear-proof trash can. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear.
Black bears are excellent at eating whatever they can find in their environment, also known as opportunistic eaters. This means they eat different foods depending on what season it is. In the spring, they eat newly grown grasses and leaves. As summer progresses they move to eating plentiful nuts and berries, as well as any recently killed animals they might find.
Hyperphagia vs. Hibernation
Black bears have two distinct phases they go through each year, hyperphagia and hibernation. Hyperphagia is the time when bears feel the need to eat almost constantly to pack on weight for the coming winter. This usually occurs in the late summer and early fall. HIbernation is the time when bears den up in the winter to sleep due to lack of available food. This is also when females give birth. While bears usually do not eat at all during hibernation, they will sometimes emerge from their dens on unusually warm days.
Did you know?
Did you know black bears aren't just black? They come in a variety of colors including black, cinnamon, and blonde, just to name a few. Individual black bears can vary in color from season to season as well! Sometimes they are very light colored in the spring, but shed their coat for a much darker one in the fall.
Common Name American Black Bear
Scientific Name Ursus americanus
Status Least Concern
Geographic Range Sustainable populations of black bear reside in 38 out of 49 states to which they are indigenous.
Life Span Around 20 Years
Offspring 1 - 6 Cubs