Zoo Animals

Black bear

Ursus americanus

At the Detroit Zoo

North American black bear Migwan was rescued near Gladwin, Michigan as a cub with porcupine quills in her face, and arrived at the Detroit Zoo in October 2002. She is often seen sitting with her legs out or at the front of the habitat with her arms crossed. Migwan can be found in the bear dens in the American Grasslands.

The North American black bear isn’t always black. In western North America, it may have a cinnamon, blonde or honey-colored coat, and along Canada’s Pacific coast may even be white or bluish-gray. The large, muscular bear has rounded ears and large feet and claws.


Fun Facts

  • There are more than 15,000 North American black bears in Michigan (mostly in the Upper Peninsula).

  • Contrary to popular belief, black bears don’t hibernate. Beginning in October and November, they enter a state of lethargy that lasts all winter, and they sleep most of the time. During this time they can, however, be roused and become active.

  • Despite its massive size, the black bear is extremely timid and has been observed fleeing from house cats, ducks, moths and butterflies.