This is from Seabeck, Washington, across the water from Seattle.
Ursus americanus is one of those species with a LOT of variation in adult body size. Males can run from 46 to 409 kg (100 – 900 lbs) [ADW], with the average around 100 – 120 kilos. Record size black bears include:
- North Carolina, shot, November 1998, 880 lbs (399 kg)
- Winnipeg, road kill, 2001, 856.5 lbs but estimated to have been 886 (402 kg) in life.
[source: American Bear Association]
Keep in mind that this was a black bear, not a brown bear. There are three kinds of bear in North America: Brown bear (also known as Grizzly or Kodiak), Polar bear, and black bear. Polar bears are phylogeneticaly a subset of brown bears but are clearly a different species (and are thus a great example of why many cladists just don’t quite get it).
Black bears are generally not too aggressive and usually eat fungus, plants, insects, and garbage. In areas where there are only black bears, it is common for people to get confused about how many different kinds of bears there are, because “black” bears can be white, grey, black, brown, bluish black, and so on. In areas where brown bears are found, people know the difference because this knowledge is a matter of survival owing to the fact that humans are potentially on the menu for brown bears.