BlackBear Lewis

American Black Bear

Ursus americanus
Pennsylvania Game Commission

One of the largest, and among the most secretive animals living in Pennsylvania is the black bear, Ursus americanus. The species ranges through much of forested North America from Mexico to Alaska and from Florida to northern Canada. In different regions, black bears exhibit different life patterns, denning times, tolerance of human activity, habitat preferences, travel patterns, reproduction behavior, pelt coloration and even size and weight.


Bears are powerfully built animals. Adults are 50 to 85 inches in length, including a 3- to 5-inch tail. They stand about 30 inches at the shoulder and weights range from 140 to 400 pounds, with rare individuals weighing more than 800 pounds. Males, sometimes called boars, tend to be considerably larger and heavier than females, or sows.

Most bears in Pennsylvania are black, although a few are a cinnamon color. (In other parts of its range, Ursus americanus may be brown, whitish, or bluish-gray, but the majority are black.) The body is glossy black, the muzzle tinged with tan. Often a bear will have on its chest a white mark, sometimes in a prominent "V." The fur is thick, long and fairly soft. Sexes are colored alike. 


Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Attn: Mammal Atlas Coordinator
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management