An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Black Bears Giving Birth

1-9-14  black bear cubIMG_0391Sometime between the end of January (the full moon in January is often called the ‘bear moon’) and the first part of February black bears give birth to between one and five (usually two) tiny, blind, almost hairless one-half pound cubs, each about the size of a chipmunk. The cubs are totally dependent on their mother for food and warmth.

Most dens are exposed to the cold air, as they are located under fallen logs and brush, or are dug into a bank. Occasionally they are on the ground with little or no cover; in all of these locations, the mother acts like a furnace, enveloping her young and breathing on them to keep them warm. The cubs do not hibernate, but nap frequently. Like human mothers, black bear mothers sleep when their young sleep, and are alert when their cubs cry and let them know that they are in need of attention. (Photo taken during NH Fish & Game/Ben Kilham spring research; cub in photo is two months old)

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2 responses

  1. Kathie Fiveash

    The size of a chipmunk….Amazing.

    February 7, 2015 at 10:18 am

  2. Deb

    At Bear.org, and BearStudy.org you can see cams/videos (if not live now, then footage from earlier occasions) of mums and cubs. Absolutely amazing – especially the buzzing-humming sound they make when nursing! (North American Bear Center)

    February 9, 2015 at 7:22 am

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