Black bears generally live in thickly forested areas of Canada, the United States and Mexico. In the U.S., they are mostly found in New England, along the Rocky Mountains and in the Pacific Northwest, with smaller populations in less populated parts of the Southeast and Midwest.
Black bears are found in every part of Canada except Prince Edward Island. They can also be found in 41 U.S. states. Their population is smallest in Mexico, where they are restricted to only eight states in the northern part of the country.
Although black bears generally prefer forested areas, smaller populations can sometimes be found in swamps, deserts or tundras. Most black bears rely on nuts, berries and other vegetation for a significant part of their diet. Insects and grubs also make up a large part of their food. In northern areas, they fish for salmon. Bears are sometimes attracted to urban areas because they eat food waste left in garbage cans, but these bears are often relocated or killed to protect humans.
Although black bears are very adaptable, they generally look for areas where they can hide away. They tend to by shy and somewhat fearful, so they like having vegetation to cover them. They tend to be solitary animals and like a lot of room, so males can inhabit a territory of up to about 60 square miles while females inhabit a territory of up to about 15 square miles.