Louisiana Black Bear

The Louisiana black bear is the smallest of the bears living in North America. Even though the name implies a black color, a black bear’s fur can range in color from a pure white to a cinnamon color to a very dark brown or black. This bear is an excellent swimmer and a good climber. This bear is omnivorous, with about 85% of its diet consisting of vegetation. The black bear does have a sweet tooth and will chew through a tree to get to a honey hive. Sometimes a black bear will even get cavities in its teeth because of those cravings for sweets.

Louisiana Black Bear

Ursus americanus luteolus

Distribution: Hardwood forests, saltwater marshes and freshwater marshes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas

Diet in the Wild: Various fruits, berries and nuts, thistle, acorns, corn, oats, wheat, carrion, and occasionally sugar cane

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Monkey biscuits, dog chow, varied fruits and vegetables, mixed nuts and honey

U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Status: Recovered

Threats: Poaching, vehicle and train collisions, human disturbance causing den abandonment

Interesting Facts:

It is estimated that between 500 and 750 Louisiana black bears are in the wild now, about twice as many as when the species was listed as threatened in 1992. This is due in part to voluntary incentive-based private land restoration programs in which incentives were provided to landowners who restored or maintained natural forests and wetlands on property that they own. These efforts resulted in significant returns of Louisiana black bear habitat.

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