Florida Fauna & Flora – Florida Black Bear
The largest land mammal in Florida and the only bear found in the state is the black bear. Males weigh 250 to 450 pounds, while females weigh 125 to 250 pounds. Females give birth to 1 to 5 cubs that are born blind and weigh only 8 to 15 ounces.
Black bears are a Florida conservation success. Florida’s bear population dropped to under 500 in the 1970s. In 1974, they were listed as Threatened and placed on the Endangered and Threatened Species List. With a population of over 4,000, bears were removed from the protected list in 2012.
Florida black bears are athletic – they run up to 35 mph, climb 100 feet up a tree in 30 seconds and are active swimmers. Black bears travel large areas of land to survive. A male’s home range is about 60 square miles, while females have a home range of about 15 miles.
Bears are most active at dusk and dawn, and are coming in closer contact with people. Read this month’s Advice from The Old Farmer’s Almanac on page 2 of SECO News to learn how to spot the signs of bear activity close to your home.
Fun Faun Fact: Florida black bears have a remarkable sense of smell. They can detect scents up to a mile away.
Source: Florida Wildlife Federation
Read the full July 2021 SECO News online.