Black Bear

Ursus americanus floridanus

Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife
1101 Fourteenth St.
Suite 1400
Washington, DC
Tel: 202-682-9400
Fax: 202-682-1331

The Florida black bears are listed as threatened by the state of Florida.


These black bears often have a white band of fur across their chest.


The average weight of a Florida black bear is 350 pounds for males and 150 pounds for females. However, they can range in weight from 150 to600 pounds. They are 4.5 to 6.5 feet long.


It is estimated that there are between 1,500 and 2,500 Florida black bears.


Male bears usually live from 15-25 years, while females can live up to 30 years.


Most of Florida’s black bears live in five major populations located in the Ocala/Wekiva River Basin, Big Cypress National Preserve, Apalachicola National Forest, Osceola National Forest, and Eglin Air Force Base.


Florida black bears can be found in a variety of habitats throughout Florida, including mixed hardwood pine, cabbage palm hammock, upland oak scrub, and forested wetlands, such as cypress and riverine swamps.


The Florida bear is an omnivore, an animal hat eats both animals and vegetables, and enjoys a wide variety of foods, including berries, acorns and fruits. They also eat insects, such as carpenter ants and termites, as well as armadillos and carrion, dead animals.


Florida black bears do not truly hibernate. Instead, from late December to March, they have a period called "wintering." During this time, pregnant females give birth in the den and go without food. Males and non-pregnant females sometimes leave the den for short periods of time. Their dens may be high in a tree, in a hollowed out stumps or in a forest floor protected by vegetation.


Every two years during January or February, females give birth to 2 to 4 cubs. The cubs are dependent on the their mother’s protection for nearly two years, during which time she teaches them lessons of survival.


The biggest long term threat facing the Florida black bear is loss of habitat as a result of development and urbanization. Car accidents (or "road kills") is the number one direct cause of death for this species.


Florida black bears do not receive protection under the Endangered Species Act, but they do receive some protection by the state of Florida.