Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Ursus americanus
Black Bear


Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration, black, often with cinnamon coloured muzzle, sometimes with whitish "V" on chest. Coat, coarse. On occasion, cinnamon-colored individuals are sighted.

Black Bear Size -
Male: 1.35 - 1.75 m (4.5 - 5.9 ft)
Female: 1.17 - 1.5 m (3.9 - 4.9 ft)


Common throughout Northwestern Ontario, primarily in forested areas; also swamps. Frequently at garbage dumps and logging camps.


The black bear is an omnivore. The majority of its food is vegetable matter; it will feed on buds and berries when they are in season and then switch to nuts and roots in the fall. The balance of its diet is made up of grubs and worms or small mammals such as mice and shrews. Bears growing up around populated areas, however, have come to associate man with food. Sightings at garbage dumps, logging camps and picnic grounds have become frequent.


Black bears are naturally a shy and solitary animal but when its territory overlaps with that of man, the bear can be a nuisance and a danger. It is common for black bears to be trapped in populated areas and then relocated back into the wilderness at a considerable distance.

Black bears eat well in the summer and fall months to accumulate a heavy layer of fat to support them through a winter-long hibernation period.

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