There is only one species of bears (family Ursidae
) in Florida.
** PROTECTED **
The Florida Black Bear
, Ursus americanus floridanus
, is found in localized large heavily-wooded areas statewide. It is large (50-80") and bulky (180-300 pounds). Its black coat is thick and long. It has a tan muzzle and a short tail. It has short, curved claws.
The Florida black bear dens, usually alone, in cavities in trees, banks, logs, and in caves. It also nests on the ground, particularly in palmetto
thickets and tangles of gallberry
, and sweet pepperbush
. It is active primarily at night.
An omnivore, it feeds on fruits, nuts, roots, twigs, bark, small animals, eggs, honey, and carrion. Favorite food plants include oaks
, cabbage palm
, saw palmetto
, black gum
, and gallberry
In northern Florida, the bear goes into a dormant period during colder months but does not hibernate. While its body temperature, metabolism, and heart rate decrease, it is easily disturbed.
Females breed every other year in June or July and give birth to 1-4 cubs in January or February. The cubs remain with the mother until the spring of the following year.
Bears will avoid humans, but can be very dangerous, especially when protecting cubs.
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