The Different Types of Bears in North America

Did you know that there are only 8 surviving species of bears around the world?

North America is home to nearly half of these species, and many people have encountered them in the wild.

If you want to learn more about the North American bears you may come across, there are 3 to discover.

Continue reading if you want to learn about the types of bears that you could encounter in North America!

Black Bears

One of the most common types of bears in North America is the black bear.

The scientific name for them is Ursus americanus. This type of bear doesn’t always blend in with the night. They can be black, white, or brown.

Black bears can grow 7 feet long and won’t be easy to miss when you go camping.

You can encounter black bears in more than half of the states in the US and all of Canada. There are nearly a million black bears in North America, however, some of them are endangered.

There are many different types of bears but this one is the only one that can be found in North America.

Many people encounter black bears when they are camping in the south or northern states. It helps to have a Camping Forge to keep your campsite and family safe. The bears often search through exposed trash cans and look for food anywhere they can.

Louisiana Black Bear

The Louisiana black bear is a special species that is currently being threatened.

The population of this species is decreasing and the US Endangered Species Act is making attempts to protect them. Louisiana black bears can be found around the Mississippi River Valley, especially near the river basin.

These bears can weigh around 400 pounds, but the females tend to be smaller. State laws prohibit the hunting of black bears in Louisiana to help protect the species and let it revive itself.

The Faux Polar Bear

If you are ever visiting British Columbia in Canada, you might see a faux polar bear.

Black bears can have a recessive gene that leads to their fur turning white. It’s difficult to tell them apart from polar bears since they look similar, however, black bears tend to be smaller in size.

This subspecies of black bears is called the Kermode bears. Some people identify these beautiful creatures as spirit bears because they are so unique.

Fortunately, polar bears aren’t in British Columbia, but rather further north. British Columbia is only home to black and grizzly bears, which can become aggressive.

Brown Bears

Brown bears are also known as grizzly bears, and they can be the fiercest of the bunch.

Most of Canada is home to these scruffy-looking bears, but you can also find them in the northwestern part of the United States. Aside from North America, brown bears are in Russia, Asia, and parts of Europe.

It’s best to avoid grizzly bears since they can be the most aggressive. If you are ever stuck staring one down in the eye, slowly step away sideways and never turn your back on them.

Although brown bears love protein, they also like to eat berries and fish. They are often found near streams and rivers trying to nourish themselves. Yellowstone National Park has become a popular recovery habitat for bears, but this is where people tend to run into them.

For comparison, brown bears are larger than black bears and also have a bigger population.

Coastal Brown Bear

On the southern coast of Alaska, coastal brown bears are thriving.

These brown bears are different from grizzly bears since they aren’t inland. Coastal bears live off the food and resources near the ocean and have evolved differently from grizzlies. They are much larger than inland grizzly bears and can weigh over a thousand pounds.

The salmon, clams, and sedge grass and worth staying in Alaska for the bears.

You can spot Alaska Peninsula (coastal) bears by their grizzly fur with white tips. They have a hump near their shoulders, which is the easiest way of telling it apart from a black bear.

Polar Bears

Most people choose to live in warmer climates, however, the polar bears are happy keeping the north to themselves.

In the northernmost parts of Canada and Alaska, polar bears are taking over. Polar bears aren’t going extinct, but there is a cause for concern with climate change taking effect. As ice loss is increasing, polar bears are losing their habitats and having to relocate.

These beautiful white bears are rare to encounter unless you are visiting the zoo. Polar bears are the largest species in North America and are primarily carnivorous. Since most polar bears don’t encounter humans, it’s unpredictable how they may react but you should never turn your back on them.

Walruses and wolves are polar bears’ largest predators. There are more than 20,000 polar bears. Although this may seem like a lot, these bears travel alone and don’t have someone to help protect them.

Can You Identify the Types of Bears in North America?

Whether you like to go camping or live away from the city, there’s a chance that you could encounter a bear.

Learning about the types of bears can help you understand and identify each species. The species can influence their response to human interaction, especially if you encounter a momma grizzly bear.

These bears are beautiful creatures that can withstand extreme temperatures. Don’t be afraid to observe them in their natural habitats from a safe distance.

Be sure to check out our blog for more information about bears and other wildlife on the continent!

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