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What is a bear’s habitat?

Bears exhibit diverse habitat preferences depending on their species and geographic location. In Yellowstone National Park, both grizzly and black bears occupy distinct habitats, though there is occasional overlap. Black bears in North America typically inhabit large wooded areas rich in nut- and fruit-producing species, alongside smaller openings that promote the growth of various shrub species. Wetlands and lowlands serve as crucial sources of succulent vegetation, while pools and streams provide essential water sources. Additionally, trees with a diameter exceeding 20 inches and sturdy, wrinkled bark offer ideal climbing opportunities for spring black bear cubs, with old-growth trees being preferred sheltering sites.

Diverse Diet and Foraging Behavior

Bears are quintessential omnivores, consuming a wide array of food items ranging from roots and berries to larger prey such as moose, deer, and elk. Their diet also includes fish, flowers, pine nuts, rodents, insects, and virtually anything else they can catch or scavenge.

Strategies for Bear Spotting

Differentiating between grizzly and black bears can be challenging. Grizzlies feature a prominent shoulder hump, while black bears exhibit a variety of colors. Grizzlies also possess larger and stronger claws, though distinguishing these requires close proximity.

To maximize bear sighting opportunities, visitors are advised to venture out late or early in the day, as bears are most active during dawn and dusk. Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are prime locations for bear spotting within Yellowstone, offering paved pullouts for convenient observation. Patience is key, as bears are often engaged in feeding or movement, and diligent observation may require waiting for other visitors to spot them first.

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