Living with Bears

Black Bear Facts

Description: Black bears are familiar to everyone, and with the demise of the grizzly bear they are the largest of Colorado's carnivores. Although called black bears, they can be honey-colored, blond, brown, cinnamon or black. They may have a tan Black Bearmuzzle or white spot on the chest. Although brown or cinnamon-colored bears are sometimes mistaken for grizzly bears, there are no known grizzlies living in Colorado.

 

Adult females are called sows. Adult males are called boars. Youngsters are called cubs.

Adult males weigh from 275 pounds. Females weight about 175 pounds. Depending on the season, food supply and gender, black bears may weigh anywhere from 100 to 450 pounds. Black bears measure about 3 feet high when on all four feet. They can be 5 feet tall when standing on back legs.

Cubs will stay with the mother bear for their first year, denning with the mother and litter mates over the winter. By the time of their second spring, they will be self-reliant and will separate from their mother by the second autumn.

Range: In Colorado, the largest populations of black bears live in areas where there is Gambel oak and aspen, near open areas of chokecherry and service berry bushes. A black bear may have a range from 10 to 250 square miles

Diet: Black bears will learn to eat natural foods, such as berries, nuts and insects, as they are taught to forage by mother bears. People who live or camp in bear country need to be sure they don’t teach bears to become“garbage” bears by careless handling of food, scraps and garbage. Bears who find human food, even once, can change their habits to seek food from human residences and trash cans. Most bears seen in residential areas near or within bear habitat do not cause any damage. If a bear doesn’t find abundant food, it will move on.

Bear w/cubs

Reproduction: Male bears are capable of breeding when they are 3 years old. Some female bears breed as early as 3 or 4 years of age, but 5 years is more common.After 2-3 months of gestation, 1 to 3 tiny cubs are born mid-winter,typically while the mother is still in the den. Newborn cubs – weighing less than a pound at birth -- are blind, toothless and covered with very fine hair. When they emerge from the den in early or mid-May, they will weigh 10 to 15 pounds.

 

Black Bears at a Glance

Bears are intelligent, resourceful and amazing animals.

  • Black is a species, not a color. In Colorado many black bears are blonde, cinnamon or brown.
  • Over 90% of a bear’s natural diet is grasses, berries, fruits, nuts and plants. The rest is primarily insects and scavenged carcasses.
  • Black bears are naturally shy, and very wary of people and other unfamiliar things. Their normal response to any perceived danger is to run away.
  • In Colorado, most bears are active from mid-March through early November. When food sources dwindle they head for winter dens.
  • With a nose that’s 100 times more sensitive than ours, a bear can literally smell food five miles away.
  • Bears are very smart, and have great memories—once they find food, they come back for more.
  • During late summer and early fall bears need 20,000 calories a day to gain enough weight to survive the winter without eating or drinking. 
  • Bears are not naturally nocturnal, but sometimes travel at night in hopes of avoiding humans.

This information provided from Colorado Parks & WildlifeCDOW Logo

For more information concerning Living with bears in La Plata County visit Bear Smart DurangoBear Smart Durango Logo

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 Black Bear
 Living With Bears

"Trash Ordinance"

Code of La Plata County
Chapter 46, Article II, Sec. 46-57  
Unsecured trash, rubbish
or refuse containers.
Ord. No. O-2008-1,
December 12, 2008
View Here

Entering the Bear Den
CPW Concludes study on Human-Bear Interaction

Colorado Outdoors, 
March 29, 2017
Read about the six-year bear CPW study in Durango lead by
Dr. Heather Johnson here

Be Bear Aware

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Click to visit CPW
Living with Bears
online resource center.

The website contains practical guidelines that will help you do your part to prevent human-bear conflicts, and keep bears wild.