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Where Do Black Bears Live?

American black bears are native to North America and can be found throughout the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico. While they are only found in eight states of northern Mexico, black bears presently occupy 41 of the 50 U.S. states and reside in all provinces and territories of Canada, with the exception of Prince Edward Island. The Ursus americanus floridanus, which is the subspecies that exists in Florida, also resides in Alabama and southern Georgia.

What Is Their Habitat in the Wild Like?

Black bears require an adequate amount of cover, due to their shy and solitary nature, so they mainly live in heavily forested areas. However, they are able to adapt well to diverse habitats such as mountains, swampy areas, abandoned fields, hardwood forest, softwood forest, mixed forest, mountain laurel thickets, logged areas, and cornfields. Bears that live in closer proximity to urban areas usually weigh more due to the availability of high calorie foods, are more likely to get pregnant at a younger age, and are at a higher risk of dying a violent death.

Where Do They Live?

A home range is the region that an animal inhabits, which contains a supply of food, a source of water, and shelter. Male black bears roam across large distances, usually living within a home range of about sixty square miles. On the other hand, females usually only live within a range of about fifteen square miles. Males do not share home ranges, but there may be several females living within the home range of one male. Females tend to be more territorial than males and defend their land when approached by a trespasser. Black bears mark their territory through urinating, defecating, and by scratching, rubbing, and biting trees. Although bears are commonly thought to sleep in caves, they actually make their dens in a variety of places, often lining their nest with grasses, leaves, and twigs. These dens may exist in open nests, brush piles, fallen trees, rock piles, excavations, hollow trees, and human structures.

For more information, see the References and Further Reading page.