5 Interesting Facts About Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains are an excellent tourist attraction when you visit Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. You get to be out in the fresh mountain air and see picturesque nature views. This nature is not just pretty to look at, for it serves a vital function as a home to many animals. Black bears are one of the most popular ones. Even if you’ve been to the Great Smoky Mountains many times before, get to know these residents a little better! Here are 5 interesting facts about black bears in the Smoky Mountains:
1. They Are Athletic
Black bears are one of the bigger animals that inhabit the Smoky Mountains. In fact, male black bears can weigh up to 660 pounds, while females can weigh up to 175 pounds. Even so, don’t let their size fool you because black bears have a variety of skills that make them quite athletic. First, they are great climbers because their claws can grow to lengths of up to 5 inches. Second, black bears are fast animals and can run for short distances at speeds of 25-30 mph. It is also worth noting that black bears are great swimmers, which comes in handy for catching and eating fish, one of their main food sources.
2. Superhero Senses
Black blacks have great senses! Their hearing abilities are twice as sensitive as those of humans. That’s not all! Black bears can see at a distance of up to 100 yards. People that have 20/20 vision can only see clearly for up to about 6 yards. As for other interesting facts about their vision, black bears have a great color vision which makes it easy to find plants such as berries.
3. Big Eaters
When it comes to their diet, black bears are omnivores. This means their diet consists of both meat and plants. Even though they eat both, around 85% of a black bear’s diet consists of berries and nuts. On rare occasions, they will also chow down on insects as well. In order to have enough fat storage to last them through the winter when they hibernate, black bears will consume about 20,000 calories a day during the fall. This is 10 times more calories than that of a typical human diet.
4. They Roam Alone
If you see a black bear in the Smoky Mountains, it will most likely not have any friends around it because black bears tend to be solitary animals. The only exception is their mating season which takes place in early summer. You may also see a female bear traveling with her cubs and teaching them how to survive on their own. Female black bears (called sows) can have 1 to 6 cubs at a time. They care for the cubs for about 18 months before letting them go off on their own.
5. Black Bears Make Noise
Even if you don’t actually see any black bears in the Smoky Mountains, you may hear them. They can make up to 20 different noises. You will definitely hear a black bear’s roar from miles away. They also make less intense sounds, such as squeaks and woofs, when communicating with other bears.
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about black bears in the Smoky Mountains. We would be happy to provide you with a cozy place to unwind after a fun day of wildlife viewing. Start planning your trip by exploring all of our Gatlinburg large cabins and their amenities to find the perfect one for your vacation!