While black bears are
capable of standing and walking on their hind legs, the usual
posture is on all fours. The black bear's characteristic shuffle
results from walking flat-footed, with the hind legs slightly
longer than the front legs. Each paw has five strong, non-retractable
claws used for tearing, digging, and climbing. One blow from a
powerful front paw is enough to kill an adult deer. But in spite
of their size and strength, black bears are surprisingly agile
and careful in their movements.
Black Bears prefer
forested and shrubby areas but use wet meadows, high tidelands,
ridgetops, burned areas, riparian areas, and avalanche chutes.
They also frequent swampy hardwood and conifer forests. After
emerging from their winter dens in spring, they seek southerly
slopes at lower elevations for forage and move to northerly and
easterly slopes at higher elevations as summer progresses. Black
Bears use dense cover for hiding and thermal protection, as well
as for bedding. They climb trees to escape danger and use forested
areas as travel corriders. Black bears hibernate during winter
and may build dens in tree cavities, under logs, rocks, in banks,
caves, or culverts, and in shallow depressions.
Images 1 Through 5 Come From The US Fish & Wildlife Service
Images 6 Through 23 Come From The National Parks Service