How Much Do Black Bears Weigh?


Black bears are magnificent creatures that come in various sizes. You might be amazed by their stature, as they surpass the size of many common animals like dogs and cats. However, black bears don’t start off large. In fact, they are born significantly smaller than humans.

The size of black bears can vary, with males typically being larger than females. Their size is influenced by the availability of food in their habitat. As omnivores, black bears consume a diverse range of plants, grasses, nuts, and fish. They may even prey on small deer and moose. A black bear with access to abundant food resources will grow to a substantial size. Female black bears generally reach a maximum weight of around 175 pounds, while males can weigh 400 pounds or more.

To provide you with a better understanding of their size, let’s compare black bears to humans at various stages of life.

Black Bears at Birth and Early Years

When black bears are born, they typically weigh just 8 ounces. This is considerably smaller compared to a newborn human, who weighs around 7 pounds on average, with some weighing even more than 10 pounds.

At 4 months old, black bears are still relatively small, weighing around 5 pounds. In comparison, a human baby at 4 months old weighs around 14 pounds, making the human about triple the size of the bear.

By the age of 1, black bears have grown significantly. They usually weigh around 50 pounds, while a human child at this age weighs approximately 22 pounds. This demonstrates the rapid growth of bears during their first year of life.

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By the time a human reaches the age of 4, their average weight is around 35-37 pounds. In contrast, a bear at this age may weigh between 125 and 150 pounds. At age 8, the average human weighs about 57 pounds, while bears are much larger. Female bears may weigh around 150 pounds, whereas males can weigh almost double that, at 275 pounds.

Females don’t typically grow much larger than this, averaging around 150-175 pounds when fully grown. On the other hand, the average male black bear weighs around 275 pounds, although many can reach 400 pounds or more.

However, there are exceptional cases. The heaviest recorded female black bear weighed 520 pounds and was found in Minnesota in 1993. The heaviest male bear, shot in 1972 in Canada, weighed 902 pounds when dressed out, so it likely exceeded 1,000 pounds. Several other bears have been documented weighing over 800 pounds.

Black bears typically have a lifespan of around 10 years, although they can live up to 30 years in the wild as they have no known predators. This gives them ample time to gain a substantial amount of weight, depending on their habitat and diet.

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Although black bears start off small, they grow rapidly. By the time they reach 8 years old, they can weigh between 200 and 300 pounds, depending on their gender.

At Yellowstone Bear World, you can witness these magnificent black bears up close and personal. Our guided tour provides an opportunity to observe these large mammals in their natural habitat. To learn more about Yellowstone Bear World, feel free to give us a call at (208) 359-9688 or contact us online.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>