The bear subspecies Ursus americanus californiensis was identified by American zoologist
Gerrit Smith Miller in 1900. The California
Black Bear, is one of two recognized black bear subspecies in California. The other is the Olympic Black Bear.
The California Black Bear can be found from the coastal mountains of Southern California to the Cascade Range in
Central Oregon. They are usually found at elevations of 3,000 to 7,000 feet. The California Black Bear is thought
to be geographically separated from the Olympic Black Bear by the crest of the Klamath Mountains in Northern California.
Males can be up to 4 feet at shoulder height, and usually weigh from 300 to 350 pounds. However, they can weigh as
much as 550 pounds. Females can be up to 3.5 feet, and can weigh from 160 to 350 pounds. Males are usually from 30
to 40 percent heavier. They can be up to 7 feet tall when standing on their hind legs. Their coats can be either
black or cinnamon.
The California Black Bears are omnivorous and are usually nocturnal. They are occasionally active during twilight,
and on rare occasion they may be seen during the day. They feed mainly on plants and insects. They will eat grass,
berries, buds, flowers, nuts, grubs, insects, honey, fish and Carrion. They need access to drinking water unless
they are feeding heavily on succulent forage or are dormant for the winter.
BREEDING / HIBERNATION
Mating usually occurs in late May or June. Though in northern climates, they may have to wait until July or August.
Females give birth to 1 to 4 cubs in a den usually around February or March. Cubs will remain with their mother
for 1 to 2 years. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 3, but continue to grow until they are 5.
Black bears have lived to be over 35 years old in captivity. However, their average life expectancy in the wild
is 15 to 20 years. California Black Bear's population is believed to be stable
around 32,000, though they are constantly
threatened by habitat loss, conflict with humans,
hunting and climate change.