Figure 1—Black bears strip the bark from trees to eat the sapwood. The skunk cabbage is also another special food for bears during spring. Can You Outrun One? Black bears in the Smokies are black in color, but in other parts of the country they may be brown or cinnamon. Black bears eat berries, nuts, tubers, roots, honey, worms, buds, leaves, fruit, twigs, grubs, fish, insects, and small mammals. Black bears in some areas where food is scarce are much smaller than in other areas where food is abundant. A black bears diet is widely varied, taking advantage of seasonally available foods. Virginia only has black bears, the smallest of the three. Black bears devote plenty of time to exploiting this high energy food. But on occasion, black bears may leave their dens to feed on winter-killed animals when and if they need to, which is probably the only main source of food available during winter. This of course largely depends also on how fast you can run. Here’s What To Do. In the Southeast when acorns are plentiful on trees, bears gorge on the energy-packed nuts. Black bears eat a variety of foods to supplement their dietary requirements. But bears also have seasonal needs for food based on a hibernation period. Come summer, the nutritional value of vegetation begins to increase, and adult bears start to put on weight. In general, less than ten percent of a bear’s diet consists of meat. Black bears are very opportunistic eaters. In the next two or three months bears must accumulate enough food to provide them with the four inches or so of fat that they need to sustain themselves for as long as seven-and-a-half months of not eating. Black bears in Glacier Bay eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods. Why not check out our other fabulous wildlife articles where we cover all kinds of wildlife and nature questions. They eat anything they can. It took a much-deserved nap. They might even spend a couple of days eating an adult moose compared to the 40 minutes they take to eat a caribou calf. In fact, they’re perfectly adapted to a varied diet. North American Black bears are classified into the order of carnivores. Black bears are on a tight schedule during the spring. When they emerge from their den in spring, black bears eat grasses and other newly emerged succulent plants. It's only now he's decided, along with his partner Fran, to begin documenting what he knows. A black bear with a salmon in Alaska. Thinking you might need to outrun a moose? Wild black bears can run pretty fast and they’re well known for hunting moose. Bears are omnivores, and take advantage of whatever is easily accessible and available to them. When they emerge from their den in spring, black bears eat grasses and other newly emerged succulent plants. They may be six feet in length and up to three feet high at the shoulder. The other ninety percent consists of the vegetation that is available at different times of the year. The black bear is found in ten counties in New Hampshire. Although they remain fairly sedentary for a time after emerging from their dens, they then start covering a lot of country in short order. Black and grizzly bears desire these seeds as they are exceedingly nutritious, high in protein and easily digested. A black bear and its diet vary mainly because these creatures have a patchwork of habitats throughout the year in the wild because of different seasons and so their food and their diet changes accordingly. Understanding when and where bears move throughout the spring will help hunters zero in on the right places to intercept them. This process of eating nonstop, referred to as hyperphagia, is essential to a bear’s winter survival. To be more specific, as ferocious as they might seem, a black bear’s diet consists of 90 percent of plant foods. But the truth is their diets vary a lot and it’s not all meat. Answer: "Whatever they want to.” And that’s basically true. Black bears hibernate during the … For 100 days, black bears do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. But for black bears, summer is not all about berries and greenery. This content has been checked and verified by a qualified veterinary practitioner. Grizzly bears have … They often graze on shoreline grasses and sedges, dandelions, wild celery, cow parsnip, and other beach and meadow plants. In general, black bears are strongly associated with forest cover, but they do occasionally use relatively open country, such as clearcuts and the fringes of … Typically adults are three feet tall at the shoulder, and their length from nose to tail is about 75 inches. Leaves and flowers are preferred when they are highest in protein content (shortly after leaf burst or flowering), before the cell walls build up lignin and cellulose and become more difficult to digest. Do you want to know what do grizzly bears eat? Black bears are one of those few animals that will tackle skunk cabbage. But what’s exciting about a black bear’s diet is the image we all think of with black bears. Wetland plants such as swamp thistle are a primary source of food in early spring. In spring when bears finally come out of their dens after hibernation looking thinner and feeling weaker, food is usually short in supply. In summer, they feast on berries and insects, and in fall, they harvest nuts and more berries. They also scavenge for winter-killed animals and carrion. So you’ll need to know how fast a moose can run! This is a critical or perhaps a crazy season for black bears where they enter a state of Polyphagia. High-country bears shot in the fall are ripe with the flavor of wild mountain berries, and low-country spring bruins are often grassy and, yes, even grain fed, particularly those from the prairie provinces of Canada. By the time fall arrives, acorns and other nuts have matured, and provide bears with a high energy source of food. Like black bears, grizzly bears are predominantly omnivorous as they feed on plants, insects, and animals. They’re intelligent enough to be able to assess what food is edible, they have to tools (claws and teeth) at their disposal to be able to unearth, bring down and forage for a multitude of different food types, as well as the mental capacity to know where food will be at specific times of the year. What do bears usually eat throughout the year? What to do if you encounter a Black Bear this Spring SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Spring is here and that means West Virginia’s black bears are coming out of their winter hibernation and looking for food. But beaver hunting is a rarely targeted prey for black bears – it’s more opportunistic kill. There are three bear species in North America, the American … At this time when food supplies begin to dwindle, black bears pretty much feed on even the tiniest reliable food source in the wild. Black bears are omnivorous and consume a large variety of foods, changing their diet with the seasons. During summer black bears also forage for ants and beetle larvae in fallen logs. Although it may sound like it’s not worth it for an animal as large as a black bear to feed on insects, they do indeed, and it all adds to their protein intake and weight. How does their diet change from season to season? If the bear … In the spring, black bears even eat the inside layer of young trees. What Do Black Bears Eat? • In spring, bears feed on willow catkins, grasses, dandelions, clover, and aspen leaves. So Black bears are able to develop a complex map of each season and where to go to locate specific food sources. They will consume all they can as far as they can into fall, black bears pretty much consume anything that looks like a suitable source of food. Because trees are already producing sugars (carbohydrates) during the early spring, bears strip the bark and eat the newly formed wood underneath. They eat berries, nuts, flowers, fruits, and succulent grasses (including corn) as well as insects, frogs, snakes, fish, and garbage.Black bears also raid beehives for honey and bee larvae when available. All about bear cubs Most of their diet consists of grasses, roots, berries, and insects. Joppa said when bears wake from hibernation, they eat green grasses as a means to jump start their digestive systems, which shut down during hibernation. A bear would take some time to build up to a meal this large after hibernation, initially noshing on insects and plants instead. Here's Are the Reasons - a Simple Guide. In fall they eat any suitable food they find (hyperphagia) and in winter they barely eat. Habits and Habitat. When summer sets in and the days lengthen, new greenery finally sprouts. Bears are omnivores. This one seems a little strange, so some clarification is necessary. Black bears are one of those few animals that will tackle skunk cabbage. Whereas black bears do not have long claws, brown bears do, which allow them to dig the plants up with ease. Some plants such as biscuit root and sweetvetch are important plants to provide nutrition to the bears. The guys behind rangerplanet.com. This, of course, changes with every season. The nature of what black bears eat throughout the spring, summer and fall is varied, and reflects their opportunistic diet. Black bears are omnivores that eat both plants and animals. So in this article, we’re going to cover what black bears eat, and their diet through each of the seasons. Though most commonly considered black in color they are actually color phases of the blue-black, cinnamon or blue-gray glacier bear. Bears in the wild can live for an average of 20 years with polar bears living for the longest (25 on average) and North American black bears living the shortest (19 years on average). In the fall, they like to eat acorns and nuts. Now that spring is here, they are hungry and looking for trash cans, dirty grills, bird feeders and any scraps of food or food odors. Can You Outrun One? It’s in late July or early august the first ripening of huckleberries, blueberries and other berries start. But black bears are essentially omnivores that have a diet varying from plants, insects, fish, and animals. link to Why Is Wood Brown? They also eat carrion (dead animals), small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Bears have caused significant damage to some … Dispersing yearlings, especially males, looking for new home ranges may also travel a great distance. Why Is Wood Brown? In the summer, black bears love to eat fruits such as wild cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and other brambles. As spring evolves into summer, bears add to their diet things such as grubs, ants, beetles, worms, and other insects that they can dig up or find by ripping apart trees and rotting logs. Urea, a waste product found in urine, can be fatal in high levels in most animals (including humans), but bears are able to break down the urea. As time goes on, and pollinated flowers turn into edible fruits, the pickings improve. We hope this has been useful in understanding the diet of North American black bears in the wild. Black bears may weigh 40 percent less in the spring after emerging from their winter dormancy, a period during which they do not eat. Black bears are also regarded as the least carnivorous across North America. This includes ants, insects, and even seeds. Figure 1—Black bears strip the bark from trees to eat the sapwood. Even if bears are super hungry during this season, they barely have anything to feed on in the wild. With that information set in, let’s go on to provide a clear overview of what black bears eat and how seasons interestingly affect their diet. They are ravenous at a time when there is very little vegetation, the mainstay of their diet. Other Bears. This is where first green grasses and sedges often sprout right at the edge of streams, making it attractive to feed on. Because trees are already producing sugars (carbohydrates) during the early spring, bears strip the bark and eat the newly formed wood underneath. And at lower elevations, during spring even dandelions make a great snack for black bears. Judging Bear Size Learning to properly judge the size of black bears can take years of study. Since food is relatively more scarce during spring, black bears continue to lose weight. While their temperature doesn’t drop drastically (100 F. down to 91 F., their heart rate ( 8 beats per minute during hibernation ) and their breathing (one breath every 45 seconds during hibernation) do. As much as it may be complex to understand the science behind... How Fast Can a Moose Run? But meat is an important source of protein for many black bears. Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. During spring and summer, bears eat around 5,000 calories a day, but in the fall, they are trying to eat up to 20,000 calories every day. Black bears are not … If it has nutrition, bears will eat it. We’ve been exploring the wonderful world of wildlife in detail and wanted to share our findings! They use their long claws to dig up plants and roots and to pick ripened berries in the summer. Bears go from consuming a normal 4 – 6,000 kilocalories a day to gorging down 18 -20,000 kilocalories a day (Terry DeBruyn, Walking with Bears) and gain as much as 30 pounds a week. Black bears can, in fact, consume 20,000 buffalo berries in a single day. While this may be true for grizzly bears, you may be surprised to learn that black bears mostly eat plants. Black bears will typically forage for two to four hours during much of spring and summer, compared to 20 hours of active foraging during the fall hyperfagia feeding phase. In spring, black bears may dig small mammals such as gophers from their burrows. In spring, they tend to eat mostly plants. In contrast, black bears have short, curved claws that are better for climbing than for digging so they eat less seeds and roots. Adult bears have been known to travel over 95 miles in a year, and will occasionally mark trees with their claws, especially during the breeding season. 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