Black Bear

Black Bears are the only species of bear that live in Nevada. Though their name implies that they are black, this species can be a variety of colors throughout their range. Black Bears that live in the western United States are more often blonde, brown, or cinnamon in color. These bears have small eyes, rounded ears, and a long snout which helps them smell food items many miles away.
Ursus americanus
3-30 Years
47-79” | 85-900lbs
  • State Protected
Least Concern
Big Game

For information and resources for living responsibly in bear country, visit our Living With Bears page here:

  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Black Bears are found in the mountainous areas and foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe areas. Rivers and streams provide a source of food, while forested areas offer cover.

  • Upland Forests


  • Human Conflict

Bear Research

Lessons learned from a 20-year collaborative study on American black bearsView
Evaluation of deterrent techniques and dogs to alter behavior of "nuisance" black bearsView
Carnivores, urban landscapes, and longitudinal studies: a case history of black bearsView
Using Black Bears to Test Ideal-Free Distribution Models ExperimentallyView
Rapid ecological and behavioural changes in carnivores: the responses of black bears (Ursus americanus) to altered foodView
Are Desert Basins Effective Barriers to Movements of Relocated Black Bears (Ursus Americanus)?View
Using Genetic Relatedness to Investigate the Development of Conflict Behavior in Black BearsView
Recolonizing carnivores: Is cougar predation behaviorally mediated by bears?View
Bear Historical Ranges Revisited: Documenting the Increase of a Once-Extirpated Population in NevadaView
Human-Black Bear ConflictsView
Natural rewilding of the Great Basin: Genetic consequences of recolonization by black bearsView
An apex carnivore's life history mediates a predator cascadeView
Shifting perceptions of risk and reward: Dynamic selection for human development by black bears in the western United StatesView
Black bear density and habitat use variation at the Sierra Nevada-Great Basin Desert transitionView
Assimilated diet patterns of American black bears in the Sierra Nevada and western Great Basin, Nevada, USAView
Risky business: Modeling mortality risk near the urban-wildland interface for a large carnivoreView

Natural History

Black Bears are solitary animals, meeting only for the breeding season. Female Black Bears can have 1 to 5 cubs at a time and can reproduce every other year so long as there is enough food during the fall to support pregnancy. Black Bears are omnivores, though 85% of their diet is plant-based. During the fall, Black Bears go through a period called hyperphagia. During this time, their appetites go into hyper drive. They can consume 8,000 to 20,000 calories each day in order to put on enough fat to hibernate. If a winter is particularly mild or there is enough food in their territory, Black Bears do not have to hibernate. They can also wake during hibernation and move about their den or give birth.

Fun Facts

Black Bears are not always black! They can be dark brown or sometimes even cinnamon in color, but they are still 'Black Bears!' They are also intellegent problem solvers and can even climb trees to snag a meal.