A black bear out in a Cade Cove field enjoying breakfast is oblivious to the excitement he’s causing until someone set off their car alarm. Thanks for the photo op!
If you wish to see black bears in the wild, the place to visit is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. With over 1,500 bears in the park, it is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States for the black bear to live in nature. That’s a population density of approximately two bears per square mile!
Bears in the Smokies are black, but they can also be brown or even cinnamon-colored. They are a smaller bear, at full grown they are about six feet in length and three feet high at the shoulder. During the summer, an average adult male will weigh about 250 pounds and a female, just over 100 pounds. They may double their weight by fall preparing for the winter. Average life expectancy is 12 to 15 years, and they can get to be even older as long as they do not eat human food. Berries and nuts make up 85% of their typical diet, and they eat insects and animal carrion for protein.
Copyright 2020 Susan Rissi Tregoning
June 15th, 2020
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