The scientific name for the Louisiana Black Bear is Ursus americanus luteolus. It is one of 16 recognized subspecies of the American Black Bear.
- All 16 subspecies are American Black Bears and have many things in common such as body shape, footprint, diet, etc. However, differences between subspecies are usually less distinct than the differences between species, but more distinct than the differences between races or breeds. The characteristics attributed to a subspecies generally have evolved as a result of geographical distribution or isolation.
- Bears are one of the world’s most adaptable carnivores. Their reasoning ability, long-term memory, omnivorous food habits, dexterity, speed, strength, sense of smell, and elusive behavior contribute to their success through evolutionary time.
- It is the smallest of the North American bears and the largest wild mammal in its range.
The bear was made the official state mammal of Louisiana in ?
- 1992 Louisiana Black Bears are listed at a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Before listing, it was estimated that as few as 150 bears remained in their historic range.
The Louisiana Black Bear is the only sub-species to be federally protected.
- Louisiana Black Bears are black with a brown muzzle, some with a distinct white “blaze” on their chest.
- Adult males generally weigh from 150 to 350 pounds, and adult females range from 120 to over 250 pounds.
- Body length of adults, nose to tail, ranges up to 6 feet.
- Louisiana black bears are a relatively long life span and may live up to 20 years.
- Black bears are very intelligent, shy and secretive animals, and generally work hard to avoid contact with humans.
- Dangerous situations may occur whenever close human activity is perceived as threatening to the bear or its cubs.
- The best advice is for humans to avoid close bear encounters.
- Female black bears become sexually mature at 3 to 5 years of age and have 1 to 5 cubs every other year.
- Female bears give birth to cubs during the winter while hibernating in a den.
- The young remain with their mother the first year, den with her the following winter, and search for their own territory in their second summer.
- These bears typically require relatively large areas of bottomland and other hardwood forested habitat to meet their survival needs, including hardwood mast trees, fruiting plants and secluded locations for den sites to bear young.
- Louisiana Black Bears are found in Louisiana, Mississippi and east Texas.
- The Louisiana black bear is omnivorous and typically feeds on a variety of food resources including nuts such as acorns, soft fruits such as blackberries and persimmon, herbaceous vegetation such as grasses and forbs, and animal matter such as ants and grubs, and supplemented by carrion or small animals.
- Natural foods, such as berries and acorns, comprise a majority of a bear’s diet.
Threats to Survival
- Habitat loss and fragmentation of forested habitat are the greatest threats to these animals which require large, relatively contiguous areas of habitat.
- Human related mortality has also been a threat for Louisiana black bear, as minimized and fragmented habitat exposes bears to increased risks of human caused mortality.