What Are the Prey and Predators of Black Bears?

Andrew E. Russell/CC-BY 2.0

Black bears do not have any real predators except for humans and the destruction they cause to the environment. Conversely, black bears prey upon white-tailed deer fawns, small woodland mammals and beaver only when presented with the opportunity.

Because of their size, black bears have no wild animal predators. Essentially, they are at the top of the food chain. Despite this, black bears must contend with human-caused habitat reduction and destruction, causing a reduction in the numbers of naturally existing black bears. Human ignorance and error lead to increased interaction between humans and bears, causing a fear and tension that often results in the shooting of the animal. Poaching is also another major threat to black bears.

While black bears are carnivores, their diet tends to vary depending on what is available to them. Approximately 90 percent of their diet is composed of plant material such as roots, flowers, grass, acorns, fruit and carrion. The rest of their diet is made up of insects like grubs and small animals like groundhogs. Occasionally, bears will feed off of animal carcasses and live, wild deer. When food is scarce, black bears may feed off of domesticated pigs, sheep and dogs. However, this is a rare occurrence.