Did you hear a rustle in the bushes during a hike? See a dark figure up in a tree while on a drive? You just may have encountered the elusive Adirondack black bear! Read on to learn more about these extraordinary animals and tips on what to do if you come face to face with one.
The black bear (Ursus americanus) is a symbol of the Adirondacks. The region is home to the highest concentration of black bears in the state—around 4,000 of them. They're second only in mammal size to moose in the Adirondacks.
And like moose, black bears are generally solitary creatures who prefer to avoid human interaction. You probably won't see one. However they can be aggressive if encountered, so you need to be prepared when you venture out for an Adirondack adventure.
It's not surprising that they're usually black, but they can occasionally have a white spot on their chest or a cinnamon coat. They typically have long, straight ears and a long snout.
They're omnivores, and most of their diet is plant-based. They'll also eat insects and the occasional reptile, amphibian, deer or small woodland creature. They eat a lot, and must constantly forage for food.
In the fall, bears find suitable dens to settle in for a long hibernation. In the spring, they venture out into the wild to eat.
For more information on the difference between black bears and other types of bears, consult the National Park Service.
It's not likely that you will see one during your time in the region, though it can be a real treat if you are able to see one at a safe distance. However, if you encounter one in an unsafe situation, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and those you're with.