Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Larry Dalton and Laura Romin
Photo Copyright Larry Dalton and Laura Romin

The black bear, Ursus americanus, is native to most of Canada, many areas of the United States, and part of northern Mexico. The species is fairly common in Utah, where it can be found primarily in large forested areas. Contrary to its name, the black bear is not always black; the species varies in color from reddish to light brown to black.

Black bears are omnivores with diets consisting of fruits, insects, grubs, some small vertebrates, and carrion. They breed in June or July, and young are born in January or February; average litter size is two. Young stay with their mother until the fall of their second year. Black bears are nocturnal and are dormant during the winter.

The black bear is currently the only species of bear that occurs naturally in Utah. The grizzly bear, Ursus arctos, was extirpated from Utah during the 1920's.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.