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Difference Between Black Bear and Brown Bear

Black Bear vs Brown Bear

Brown bear and black bear are two fascinating and very much comparable animals living in the northern hemisphere. However, they differ in their natural geographical range, taxonomic diversity, colour variations, body sizes, and other physical characteristics. Therefore, it would be meaningful to perform a sensible differentiation between these two important animals. However, there are two black bears known as the American and Asian black bears. Black bear in this article refers to the American black bear. An understanding about their characteristics would pave the way to emphasize differences between brown and black bears as in this article.

Black Bear

American black bear, Ursus americanus, is endemic to North America. It is a medium sized and one of most common bears in the region. Black bear is famous for its characteristic roman face profile. Their skull is broad with a narrow muzzle and large jaw hinges. The female black bears have more slender and pointed skull in comparison to their males. Males vary in their bodyweight from 60 to 250 kilograms, and the range of females is from 40 to 110 kilograms. It is obvious to observe a drastic change in their body lengths as well, which is from 120 to 200 centimetres. In addition, their heights at the shoulders range from 70 to 105 centimetres. Black bears have characteristically large and round shaped ears. Their fur coat is soft with dense underfur and has long and thick guarding hairs. Territoriality is very high among black bears, and they are active during the nights. Their excellent eyesight and the sense of smell are extremely helpful to find their mates and food sources. In addition, they are strong swimmers, which enable them to feed on fish and aquatic food, as well. However, they are omnivorous and their diet varies on the availability of food depending on the season and the location.

Brown Bear

Brown bear, Ursus arctos, is a large and heavy mammal of the Order: Canivora and Family: Ursidae. They live in Northern parts of Europe and Asia and North America. There are sixteen subspecies described under this species. Brown bear is the largest animal with predatory behaviours on land with a heavy body that weighs from 300 to 800 kilograms. They have curved extra large claws for climbing trees easily. The skull is concave and heavily built, and it looks disproportionately larger compared to the body size. In addition, the projections of the skull are well developed than in the Asian black bear. They have strong teeth with large incisors. Their diet is omnivorous, as it is composed of both animal and plant matter. Their temperaments are unpredictable, and attacks on humans are frequent although they usually try to avoid people. They have a short tail that measures maximum 22 centimetres. The colour of their coat is more or less brown, giving the name brown bear.

What is the difference between Brown Bear and Black Bear?

• Natural distribution range is far wider for the brown bears compared to black bear. That is because brown bears are distributed in both new world and old world, whereas black bears are found only in North America.

• As their names are portraying, the colourations of their bodies are different between black and brown bears. However, the black bear could range from black to blonde.

• In their body sizes, brown bear ranks higher than the black bear.

• There is a distinct hump in brown bears but not in black bears.

• Brown bear has long and curved claws, but those are short in black bears.


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