Country Creatures - Black Bear
A Wilderness Animal To Be Respected
Growing up in the little community of Bear Lake B.C. with a wide abundance of wildlife around us I was able to figure out quite quickly that black bears can indeed be big and scary.
An appreciation for their way of life is the only way our species can combine without one or the other being harmed. Wildlife deserves the respect it demands and those of us who move into their territory must appreciate that these creatures have lived here long before we came along.
Bear Lake, British Columbia, Canada.
I guess that I am a little partial to black bears because I grew up in a community recognized for its bear population. Bear Lake, B.C. was a tiny logging community and when I resided there it was largely just a few dotted houses and a small lumber mill set deep back in the woods. There were a few people living there alongside a lot of snakes, frogs and a heck of a lot of black bears.
It was a pretty isolated area with wildlife abundantly romping all around us so we learned to look at these rural visitors as a natural part of the area that we lived in. We simply planned our lifestyle with them in mind.
Generally as a kid we traveled through the woods in packs but I can recall one time riding my bike to the local beach alone and as luck would have it there were a few black bears waiting to meet me that day.
It's The One Time I Seriously Worried I Might Be Going Down
The beach was about 3 miles from home and I decided to take a shortcut through the woods as it would shave off about a half mile of the trip. Problem is that back in those days people started little dump sites on old abandoned roads whenever and where ever they wanted to and I was about to run into a brand new one that a group of local bears were busy chowing down on.
I came zipping around a corner on the old logging road to see 5 startled black bears staring straight at me. You could tell that they had seen or heard me before I had them and they were sizing up my intentions for disturbing their dinner.
Instinctively I dismounted my bike and for what seemed like an eternity I slowly walked it past the now very curious bears. One large black bear never stopped chewing but his eyes also never left me so I kind of knew that I might be in just a wee bit of trouble if I made any sudden movements. With trembling legs I walked my bike till I could no longer see the bears. Then I got back on and peddled like crazy to get out of those woods.
Ha, now a days you sure wouldn't let a 10 year old take that kind of trip without parental supervision. Sad thing about this story though is that it's the people now a days who are scarier than the black bears are. How times have changed.
Mom And Cubs Are Cute But Don't Get Between Them
They truly are quite an impressive sight but you do have to be careful in how you approach them. How fast can a black bear run? Let's just say that you should not be thinking that you might be able to out run one.
Black bears can run at speeds of up to 55 kilometers (34 miles) per hour. Although these animals may appear big and bulky they really can move pretty darn fast. Which means that you had better be thinking of getting out of their way if you see one coming.
This is especially true of wildlife with little ones. Never get between a baby bear and his mom cause she can be very protective of her cubs. A female black bear will generally give birth to two or three cubs while in her winter den. The cubs are extremely tiny and weigh only about .225 kilograms (1/2 pound) at birth. The cubs nurse on the mother till spring when she will wake to lead her youngsters off in their search for food.
The black bear cubs will generally stay with their mother for about two years. During this time the female black bear can be highly protective of her young charges and will be extremely dangerous if she feels that they are threatened.
Woodland Creature Images Can Be Quite Charming
Many people enjoy decorating their home with images of wildlife. It's a logical choice and for the kitchen bears of all species fit in ideally. Bears have big bellies to fill and especially just before or after hibernation.
A black bear will lose about thirty percent of its weight while hibernating through the winter so it is natural for a black bear to be more than a little hungry when it wakes in the spring. Just relaxing and hanging out around food is something bears are well known to do, especially around salmon spawning areas.
So when out in the country keep this information in mind and store your food safely away from your tent. If your home is in the backwoods put those kitchen snacks away. Keep your trash bear proof and your living area clean of tempting smells. When the worlds of human and bear collide it is generally the bear who suffers. Please be responsible.
Fortunately merchandise decorated with the image of these creatures is safe to be around, no nips, scratches or bites found there and the image of these woodland animals tends to add a delightfully decorative touch to any corner of the home they settle down in.
Art, furniture, blankets, rugs, dinnerware, books, and jewelry are a few of the products they can be found on. Just don't expect to see a fur rug advertised here folks as I'm the type of girl who likes it when the critter gets to keep its fur.
Bear Trivia: What Does The Average Black Bear Weigh?
The average female black bear will generally weigh in at around 70 kilograms (154 pounds) so is much smaller and lighter than her male counterpart. The average male will weigh about 135 kilograms ( about 297 pounds) but can get as large as 290 kilograms (639 pounds).
These animals can get pretty darn big and you'll quickly notice that fact if you happen to accidentally startle one. Bears have very big teeth and claws so can be quite a sight to see in the wild. Also as mentioned previously for such a big dude he can run mighty fast so you really do want to take a little extra care when out roaming in their territory.
Respect For Our Fellow Creatures Is So Very Important
The Spirit Bear Is A Distinct Cub Of The Black Bear
British Columbia Canada is known for its large spirit bear population. Also known as the Kermode bear, named after Francis Kermode who was a researcher of this species, the spirit bear is a genetically unique cub of the common black bear.
Although often thought of as an albino bear this is not the case. The spirit bear is a black bear which carries a gene that dictates the signature lighter colour fur it will be born with.
Unique to British Columbia Canada this rare bear has faced many dangers due the potential development of its natural habitat. It is largely through the protection of first nations people that this bear continues to exist today. If not for their efforts at keeping the bear and its habitat safe they may not exist today. It is estimated that there are only between 400 to 1000 spirit bears still in existence.
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There are 8 distinct species of bear with further classification of these animal types within each category.
1. Asian Black
2. Black which also includes Cinnamon and Spirit Bears.
3. Brown which also includes Gobi, Grizzly
4. Polar Bear
5. Panda Bear
6. Sloth Bear
7. Spectacled Bear
8. Sun Bear