How Many Black Bears Live in Florida?

How Many Black Bears Live in Florida?FLORIDA - The black bear is Florida's only species of bear and an extremely adaptable, fast-growing mammal capable of quickly finding food by scavenging from nature or eating food humans provide them. As development pushes into traditional bear habitats, human-bear interactions have increased dramatically; biologists are working hard to educate the public about how best to co-exist safely with bears.

Are There Bears in Florida?

Are There Bears in Florida?

FWC biologists estimate 4,050 black bears are living in Florida based on identification through genetic testing. Male and female bears typically inhabit separate ranges that may overlap; the female's range tends to be smaller than her male counterpart's. Florida bears typically cover up to 100 square miles; they can cover as much as 300 miles in just a few days!

Bears are omnivorous animals that consume both plants and animal material in their diet. While their seasonal eating habits vary greatly, the overall ratio is roughly 80 percent plant to 15 percent animal matter. Bears primarily feed on insect eggs and larvae as well as fruits such as acorns, berries, saw palmetto & sabal palm fruits & pawpaws, along with honey from beehives which they breach to obtain both honey as well as protein from bees if available.

People unwittingly or intentionally feeding bears alters their natural behavior, and they become "habituated." Bears that have become used to human-supplied food sources will visit residential areas where these items are readily available and cause disruption - potentially damaging property or breaking into garbage cans and bird feeders. This behavior can become problematic.