Posted Under: animals,Environment,Nevada County Information
Coming home late from the office the other night, late enough that it was pitch dark, I saw a black bear crossing Banner Mountain Quaker road. Fortunately, I was driving slowly so I did not hit the bear and I got a good look at him. What a beautiful animal, big, with huge feet. From the back, other than its feet, it looked like a giant long haired black dog.
Black bears are fairly common in Nevada County and every once in a while they get a little ornery. One of my neighbors had his garbage can pilfered several times, dumping garbage all over the road. So he thought well, I’ll just strap the cover down and the bear will not be able to get into the garbage can. The next morning, he found his garbage can down the side of the mountain with big claw marks on the can. The solution was to put the garbage out first thing in the morning instead of the night before garbage was to be picked up.
The American Black Bears are from 5-6 feet in length and about 2.5 to 3 foot tall. They can stand as high as 7 tall which would be enough to scare anyone away. They can weigh as much 600 pounds for the male and about 400 pounds for the female. There have been reports of a male bear that weighed 880 pounds, but that is unusual.
Most of the time, they are as scared of you as you might be scared of them, so they tend to run when approached by humans. However, be careful if you come across of a female with cubs, then it is different story. They’re out to protect their cubs at which point they can become aggressive. If it’s any consolation, there are only 56 documented cases of black bears killing humans in the United States in the last 100 years.
According to Wikipedia
“The cubs are generally born in January or February. They are very small, about 283 to 397 grams (10 to 14 oz), and are blind, nearly hairless, and helpless when born. Two to three cubs are most common, though up to four and even five cubs have been documented. First-time mothers typically have only a single cub. The mother nurses the cubs with rich milk, and by spring thaw, when the bears start leaving their dens, the cubs are fur-balls of energy, inquisitive and playful. By this time, they are about 2 to 4 kilograms (4 to 8 lb). When their mother senses danger, she grunts to the cubs to climb high up a tree. They are weaned between July and September of their first year and stay with the mother through the first winter. The cubs become independent during their second summer (when they are 1.5 years old). At this time, the sow goes into estrus again.
Cub survival is totally dependent on the skill of the mother in teaching her cubs what and where to eat, how to forage, where to den, and when and where to seek shelter from heat or danger.”
There have been numerous sightings of black bears in the Cascade Shores Subdivision, in which I live. I had one standing on the road in front of my house last year during the night. Have you seen any black bears around your house or had some experience with them?